SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants fans who take justifiable pride in the team's starting pitching might bristle at manager Bruce Bochy's declaration Monday that Philadelphia's staff is better.But Bochy was careful to qualify his remarks. "Because of track record, I think you have to look at their staff as the best staff in baseball," Bochy said of the Phillies. When a reporter mentioned that Giants loyalists might disagree, Bochy repeated, "That's because of track record." He also praised his own rotation by saying, "We're certainly proud of our staff. I still don't think they ever quite got the credit they deserved." Employing the track-record logic, the Phillies are indeed superior to the Giants. Philadelphia starters Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton own a combined 553-335 record with three Cy Young Awards. Their San Francisco counterparts, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito, are 296-254 and also have won three Cy Youngs. Last year, Philadelphia's quintet finished 68-49, compared to San Francisco's 58-50. Yet Bochy insisted, "I feel like we match up with anybody." In fact, the Giants pinned 10 defeats on Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Lee in the regular season and postseason last year.
Lincecum's facial hair is dog-gone
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum arrived at Scottsdale Stadium without the wispy mustache and soul patch that he displayed last week at FanFest. He had a simple explanation for his absence of facial hair."My dog licked it off," Lincecum said.
Runzler ticketed for long relief -- for now
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that left-hander Dan Runzler will begin the spring as a candidate for long relief. That's halfway between the short-relief duties Runzler formerly handled and the starting role the Giants briefly considered for the 25-year-old."That doesn't mean we're locked into that," Bochy emphasized, possibly because the quality of the Giants' rotation affords long relievers few pitching opportunities. But, barring a change, Runzler will be groomed for multiple-inning stints.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.