The San Francisco Giants have been really, really interested in what Tony Abreu could provide, to the point where it seemed like they were forcing the issue a bit. He dealt with knee soreness throughout Spring Training. He had only two plate appearances during the exhibition season, singling once. He was removed from that game in the fourth inning, replaced by Nick Noonan. Now Abreu replaces Noonan on the 25-man roster.
The Giants didn’t see much in the way of roster competition during Spring Training, but utility infielder was one of the positions where guys fought for one roster spot. Noonan couldn’t hit a lick during the first part of the spring; Kensuke Tanaka showed a strong ability to make contact, but may have been the worst defensive infielder in the Cactus League; Wilson Valdez was another guy with a glove and no bat.
Abreu was the guy waiting in the wings with a mysterious injury that didn’t show up in several MRIs, but kept him out for a considerable amount of time. Bruce Bochy would comment on Abreu from time to time, including this little jab when referring to Brett Pill’s health.
“It’s pretty amazing how (Pill’s) getting around,” Bochy said. “He had surgery and he could be ready before Abreu.”
Abreu was activated from the 60-day DL today, and at the same time Ryan Vogelsong was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. That means Vogelsong isn’t eligible to return until July 20, which isn’t all that surprising. Vogelsong will need to build up his arm strength once his right hand heals, and that will probably require a couple minor league rehab starts.
As for Abreu, he was out of options so the Giants had to either bring him up or designate him for assignment. In 15 games with the Fresno Grizzlies, Abreu put up a .300/.341/.450 line with a home run in 44 plate appearances. Abreu has walked once and been hit by a pitch twice. Abreu has spent time with three organizations other than the Giants — the Dodgers, D-Backs and Royals, who DFA’d Abreu in late January after putting up a .257/.284/.357 line over 22 games in 2012.
Now that we’ll finally get to see Abreu play a little in a Giants uniform, it seems like the right time to ask a relavant question. What exactly do the Giants see in Abreu that has convinced them to wait so patiently for his knee to heal?
– He’s a switch-hitter.
– He can play second base, third base and shortstop.
– He has performed pretty well at every level of the minors — he’s a career .311/.349/.455 hitter in 3,359 plate appearances.
This also gives Nick Noonan a chance to play every day. After a hot start, the 24-year-old infielder has struggled. Seven of his 12 hits came from April 7-14, and though it was a small sample size (63 PA) he only had one extra-base hit (a double) for the Giants. Abreu should provide a little more power off the bench, and at age 28 there’s nothing left to prove in the minors.
The Giants are looking for offense anywhere they can get it these days. They lost 3-1 last night after a well-pitched game by Matt Cain was sullied by a 3-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt off Jeremy Affeldt in the 8th, and have only scored eight runs and hit one home run through six games in June.
– Angel Pagan was finally moved to the disabled list, replaced on the roster by Juan Perez.
– Bay Area Stats Guy had a nice writeup about Christian Arroyo, the Giants’ first round pick. I’m hardly an expert when it comes to the MLB Draft, but I’m excellent at counting. The Giants drafted 40 players this week (10 from high schools, three from academies in Puerto Rico, and 27 collegiate players). Here are their positions, as listed on MLB.com:
- C: 5
- 1B: 3
- 2B: 1
- 3B: 3
- SS: 4
- LF: 1
- CF: 0
- RF: 1
- OF: 1
- RHP: 15
- LHP: 6
Keep in mind that these are highly subject to change — shortstops can end up playing second base, position players can become pitchers, etc. The Giants went for quite a few tall pitchers — eight were 6’5″ or taller, with the tallest being Christopher Viall, a 6’9″ right-handed pitcher out of Soquel High School who barely edges Garrett Hughes, a 6’8″ lefty from Stanford.