Saturday, February 9, 2013
Giants defining bullpen roles
By Jason Catania
The San Francisco Giants bullpen was a huge factor in the club's second World Series win in the past three seasons.
After closer Brian Wilson went down early in the year with Tommy John surgery, the relief corps stepped up and got the job done, thanks to a good mix of right- and left-handers who knew their roles and performed. Those roles will be similar in 2013.
With Wilson still a free agent -- and only a slim chance to return to San Fran -- the ninth-inning job will be held down by Sergio Romo primarily, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman. Romo wound up seizing the job late last year (14 saves) and in the postseason. The Giants, though, will be careful not to overwork the soon-to-be-30-year-old righty who has had elbow issues in the past, so some others may be asked to pitch in when needed.
Those include setup men Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt, who re-signed on a three-year, $18 million deal this offseason, and sixth- and seventh-inning situational arms Javier Lopez, Jose Mijares and George Kontos.
All in all, the six Giants relievers are split evenly, with three righties and three lefties, making the pen one of the most balanced in the majors. Down on the farm, hard-throwing right-hander Heath Hembree is a potential future closer, and if he can show his 2012 arm injury is behind him, he could be called up as a reinforcement.