The last time San Francisco took the field for a baseball game it ended with the Giants celebrating their third World Series title in five years. When San Francisco takes the field against the Oakland Athletics in Arizona on Tuesday, March 3 at 3:05 p.m. EST (12:05 PT) for the start of the Cactus League, the Giants will be looking to get some work in while preparing for a title defense as the official start to the 2015 MLB season draws near.
Already named the Opening Day starter for the defending champs, Madison Bumgarner will also open the Cactus League season. After the World Series MVP gets his work in, Giants’ Manager Bruce Bochy will follow with several other pitchers eagerly looking to face live hitting in a game situation.
One pitcher that will follow Bumgarner on the opening day of spring training action is Tim Lincecum, who according to reports is conjuring images of the pitcher known as “The Freak.”
“His fastball was deceptive,” said Giants’ first baseman Brandon Belt in an interview with Chris Haft. “It gets on you a little quicker than you expected. I thought the breaking stuff had more life to it. He was hitting corners, in and out. He didn’t seem to have any problem with that.”
Also in the Giants’ lineup for game one of the Cactus League will be Nori Aoki, who will lead off and play center field. Joe Panik will bat second and play second. The newly acquired Casey McGehee will bat third and play third. Major League journeyman Justin Maxwell will bat fourth and play left field. Brandon Belt will play first base and bat fifth, with Andrew Susac batting sixth and handling the catching duties. Today could mark the first day towards Susac earning the backup role behind Posey. Power-hitting prospect Adam Duvall will bat seventh and serve as San Fransico’s designated hitter. Juan Perez will play right field and bat eighth while utilityman Joaquin Arias will bat ninth and play shortstop.
One pitcher that definitely won’t see time during the opening stretch of Spring Training games is Matt Cain. The right-hander is coming off surgery in August where bone chip were removed from his throwing arm. San Francisco has taken a slow and cautious route with bringing their star righty back up to speed. Cain is slated to make his return as early as Tuesday, March 10, barring no setbacks. All signs during the early portions of spring training point to Cain being able to make his debut.
Cain was quoted earlier in camp as saying, “The ball definitely feels like it’s coming out a lot easier. I feel like I’m not going to have to muscle the ball down to the plate or search for everything.”
Following the Giants opening game on Tuesday, San Francisco will host Oakland on Wednesday with Jake Peavy getting the start. Ryan Vogelsong will take the hill on Thursday for the Giants against the Chicago Cubs while Yusmiero Petit will start against the Texas Rangers on Friday.