Key Relievers: RH Joel Hanrahan (4-1, 3.62, 6 saves), RH Evan Meek (5-4, 2.14, 4 saves, 70 games), LH Garrett Olson (0-3, 4.54 in 35 games with Seattle), LH Joe Beimel (1-2, 3.40, 71 games with Colorado), RH Daniel McCutchen (2-5, 6.12), RH Chris Resop (0-0, 3.86), RHP
Hot Spots: Hitting, pitching and fielding _ the Pirates were last in the NL in all three categories in 2010. Pittsburgh figures to be better in all three areas this year, the sign of a young team with some emerging talent. That said, they need a six-game improvement simply to avoid another 100-loss season. At least Ohlendorf started out with a win _ he beat the Pirates in salary arbitration despite his better-than-it-looked 1-11 record, drawing a raise from $439,000 to over $2 million.
Outlook: Hurdle is one of the most positive-talking people in baseball. It’s hard to be around him for more than a minute without believing his team will get better. He vows to fix the Pirates‘ problems one at a time _ unhappy with Pittsburgh pitchers hitting only .090 last year, for example, he got them more practice in exhibition games by often turning down a DH slot and making his pitchers hit this spring. But there’s a lot to fix after a record 18 straight losing seasons. The Pirates hit just .242 last season and had a 5.00 ERA. They do have a talented young core with McCutchen, Alvarez, Walker and Tabata. Pittsburgh also has cornered the market on McCutchens _ Andrew and Daniel are the only players with that last name in major league history.
2010: 92-70, first place, World Series champions.
Manager: Bruce Bochy (5th season).
He’s Here: SS Miguel Tejada.
He’s Outta There: INF Juan Uribe, SS Edgar Renteria.
Projected Lineup: CF Andres Torres (.268, 16, 63, 26 SBs), 2B Freddy Sanchez (.292, 7, 47), 1B Aubrey Huff (.290, 26, 86), C Buster Posey (.305, 18, 67 after May callup and becoming NL Rookie of the Year), LF Pat Burrell (.266, 18, 51 after joining Giants in early June), 3B Pablo Sandoval (.268, 13, 63), RF Cody Ross (.269, 14, 65, NLCS MVP after coming to Giants off waivers from Florida in August), SS Miguel Tejada (.269, 15, 71 for Baltimore and San Diego).
Rotation: RH Tim Lincecum (16-10, 3.43, 212 1-3 innings, 231 Ks), LH Jonathan Sanchez (13-9, 3.07, 193 1-3, 205 Ks), RH Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14, 177 Ks), LH Barry Zito (9-14, 4.15, 150 Ks), LH Madison Bumgarner (7-6, 3.00, 18 starts).
Key Relievers: RH Brian Wilson (3-3, 1.81, majors-leading 48 saves in 53 chances), LH Jeremy Affeldt (4-3, 4.14, 53 games), RH Sergio Romo (5-3, 2.18), LH Javier Lopez (4-2, 2.34, 77 games), RH Santiago Casilla (7-2, 1.95, 52 games).
Hot Spots: 3B will continue to generate interest early in the year as a slimmed-down, determined Sandoval looks to bounce back from a down year. He spent the winter improving his fitness to make sure he could win a starting job after the Giants made it clear he was no guarantee unless he got his act together in the offseason. Zito was left off the roster for all three postseason rounds and is eager to get back to the old form that earned him 2002 AL Cy Young Award honors across the bay with the Oakland Athletics. He is starting the fifth season in a $126 million, seven-year contract. Will Burrell _ back on a bargain $1 million, one-year deal _ keep the job in left field or does utilityman Mark DeRosa return to form after missing most of last season with a wrist injury that required surgery? Tejada has been a good fit so far as one of few new faces on the team.
Outlook: The Giants will try to repeat their improbable run of last fall, when everyone just happened to peak at the right time and the Padres tumbled. A strained side shelved Wilson late in spring training. The NL West is pitching-rich, but no one might be able to match San Francisco’s rotation. It’s hard to think two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum will go through another month like his career-worst five-start losing streak last August. … Minus a superstar, this self-declared bunch of castoffs and misfits made a remarkable postseason showing to capture their first World Series title since 1954 and first since moving West in 1958. Then they retained much of their roster heading into 2011. … Tejada, who began his big league career across the bay with Oakland, steps in at shortstop to replace departed World Series MVP Renteria.View Entire Story
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