Giants thin on righty bench options
Backup catcher, two switch-hitters all Bochy has available
HOUSTON -- When their Opening Day lineup's on the field, the Giants' top right-handed pinch-hitting option is ... nobody.Under this circumstance, the lone, solely right-handed batter on the bench is Eli Whiteside, whom manager Bruce Bochy will rarely use to pinch-hit because he must be held in reserve as the backup catcher. Bochy did mention that Whiteside could be sent up in extreme circumstances, since ex-catcher Pablo Sandoval could move behind the plate if necessary. Obviously, the Giants can employ switch-hitters Andres Torres and Eugenio Velez as right-handed hitters. Torres, in fact, entered this year batting .284 right-handed and .198 left-handed. By contrast, Velez has been stronger left-handed (.278 to .214). But Torres would be unavailable to pinch-hit if Bochy employs the speedster as a pinch-runner first. This imbalance, which is underscored by the presence of left-handed batters Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz, won't be permanent. It'll end as soon as second baseman Freddy Sanchez (left shoulder) is activated from the disabled list, most likely in early May. That should send Juan Uribe to the bench and make another right-handed bat available.
Romo revels in delayed opener
HOUSTON -- Sergio Romo had longed for this day for more than a year. Hours before gametime Monday, he already was savoring the experience."My first Opening Day. Tim Lincecum [versus] Roy Oswalt. I will remember that," the right-hander said. Romo cherished this season opener because he felt cheated out of last year's. An injury to his throwing elbow forced him to start 2009 on the disabled list, which was an extreme disappointment after his promising rookie campaign in 2008 (3-1, 2.12 ERA in 29 appearances). He didn't make his first Giants appearance of the season until May 30. Asked what he was doing last April 7, the date of San Francisco's '09 opener, Romo recalled that he was still rehabilitating his injury and had barely begun to play catch. "That was pretty sweet," he said sarcastically. Though Romo was a virtual lock to be on this year's Opening Day roster as a right-handed specialist and setup reliever, he took nothing for granted. Said the 27-year-old, "I made the team, you know what I'm saying? This organization has given me an opportunity to be somebody. I'm trying to run with it." Thus, as country music artist Jack Ingram sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," Romo felt at once antsy and appreciative. "I'll tell you what," Romo remarked. "I'm going to remember this national anthem."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.