Heath Hembree

Law and Order? Giants’ bullpen shaping up after round of cuts include Hembree, Dunning

The San Francisco Giants cut seven players before this evening’s game with the Oakland A’s.

Optioned to Triple-A Fresno: relievers Heath Hembree, Erik Cordier and Jake Dunning

Reassigned to the minors: relievers Brett Bochy and Adam Reifer, catcher Guillermo Quiroz and first baseman Mark Minicozzi

Heath Hembree SF GiantsA lot of people are surprised about Hembree (pictured) getting cut, but I’ve been wondering about him over the last few days. I got here on Mar. 7, and he didn’t pitch at all over the first week I was in Arizona other than an inning in the game against the Futures team on Mar. 9. He did end up pitching twice more, a scoreless inning each on the 14th and 16th, but Bochy — citing how many good young pitchers the Giants have in camp — said Hembree needs to go down to the minors and work on his secondary pitches.

Both Hembree and Dunning pitched in the majors for the Giants last season, and pitched quite well. But the team didn’t think they looked quite as promising in the short-term as the group of relievers who still remain. I listed the numbers this spring for the guys who aren’t locks to make the Opening Day roster.

  • Sergio Romo
  • Jeremy Affeldt
  • Javier Lopez
  • Santiago Casilla
  • Jean Machi (6.35 ERA, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR)
  • George Kontos (3.38 ERA, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR)
  • Dan Runzler (3.38 ERA, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR)
  • Derek Law (2.08 ERA, 4.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR)
  • Kameron Loe (3.38 ERA, 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR)
  • J.C. Gutierrez (1.29 ERA, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 0 HR)
  • Yusmeiro Petit (5.25 ERA, 12 IP, 17 H, 11 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR)
  • David Huff (2.25 ERA, 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR)

Machi, Petit and Huff are on the 40-man roster, and they also happen to be out of options. So that’s probably how this is going to go. Bochy has mentioned on several occasions that the Giants are looking for guys who can go multiple innings, and those three all fit the bill. After struggling throughout the spring, Petit dominated the A’s tonight: four shutout innings, only two hits and no walk allowed and seven strikeouts.

As for Derek Law, who might be the breakout guy in Giants camp as far as stuff is concerned, his time will come. Not only has he never pitched above Single-A, but the Giants can call him up whenever they need. Same with Hembree and Dunning. Someone who’ll make the Opening Day roster will either struggle or get hurt — Lopez in particular is a guy who’s already been dealing with some elbow issues, plus he’s gotten rocked in his last three outings.

So here’s how the pitching staff is probably going to look on Mar. 31:

Rotation

  1. Madison Bumgarner
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Tim Hudson
  4. Tim Lincecum
  5. Ryan Vogelsong

Bullpen

  • Romo
  • Casilla
  • Affeldt
  • Lopez
  • Machi
  • Petit
  • Huff

That would make Petit the youngest guy in the bullpen, by the way. He’s 29, three months younger than Huff (the only other under-30 reliever I have making the Opening Day roster).

If Lopez can’t shake whatever’s bothering him and needs to start the year on the disabled list, either Kontos Runzler could have a shot. Bochy went out of his way to praise him on Tuesday night after the slugfest against Cleveland, and they might want another lefty who isn’t a long-man type like Huff. As for Law, I think the fact that he’s still here is a nod to how good he’s been, but I don’t see the Giants being comfortable with him skipping two levels of pro ball.

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