Sunday, March 29, 2015
Giants make major cuts, pick their backup catcher
Andrew Susac, gone.
Hunter Strickland, gone.
Juan Perez, gone.
All three members of the Giants 2014 World Series team were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday morning, as the front office all but set the 25-man roster.
Hector Sanchez appears to be the backup catcher, winning a job he wondered if he ever would do again after a series of concussions last year.
Nonroster invitee Justin Maxwell apparently will make the team as a backup outfielder, although neither he nor Sanchez has been told they are on the team.
Strickland's chances of making the team were dim from the beginning of spring training because there really was one bullpen job up for grabs, and two candidates, Jean Machi and George Kontos, are out of major-league options.
That decision remains, as well as a backup infield slot for either Ehire Adrianza or Matt Duffy. Duffy has minor-league options. Adrianza does not.
Susac clearly was caught off guard by the decision to start the year in Triple-A.
"It's bittersweet, I guess," he said. "It's frustrating. I"m not happy about it, but I'm not going to let it get me down. That's not my personality. I can see the reasons behind it. It will be nice to get consistent at-bats when I come up, if I come up."
Susac was an integral part of the World Series championship team. He hit .273 in 95 plate appearances as Buster Posey's backup and caught well, but the 25-year-old had less than 1,000 plate appearances in the minors and no doubt want him to get more game-calling experience.
Sanchez entered camp as a long shot. After concussions shut him down last season, he went to winter ball in Venezuela and was asked by the Giants not to catch, just hit. He admitted Sunday morning that when he got to camp he was fatigued just catching bullpen sessions.
But now, he said, his body feels good.
Asked if he thought he might not catch again after last year, he said, "Yes, absolutely. In my mind, I can't play anymore baseball. I was just trying to be focused in the offseason, just to get ready an do what I have to do to be a catcher. I just want to do what I love."
The Giants made other moves that were expected.
They optioned Adam Duvall and Gary Brown to Sacrament. They also reassigned to minor-league camp nonroster catcher, infielder Guillermo Quiroz, infielder Brandon Hicks, and pitchers Juan Gutierrez and Brett Bochy.