Boys of Summer spring into action; some names for Grizzlies fans to watch

The Grizzlies’ Brock Bond connects on the ball in the third inning against Iowa at Chukchansi Park on May 10, 2012. (CRAIG KOHLRUSS/THE FRESNO BEE)

Baseball fans rejoice. Spring training has sprung across Arizona and Florida as players began reporting this week.

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, we pay special attention to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, who open the season April 4 at home against the Tacoma Rainiers. And if the past is any indication of the future, we won’t know the makeup of the Grizzlies roster until a day or two before.

News on Giants’ minor leaguers is pretty tough to come by, especially after they’re send down to minor-league camp. But this year things might be a little different. That’s because the Giants have nine players participating in the World Baseball Classic. So when those players leave the Giants for two-three weeks to join their national teams, it opens up opportunities for others.

(Names in bold played for the Grizzlies in 2012.)

So that means players such as outfielders Gary Brown and Roger Kieschnick, infielders Nick Noonan and  Conor Gillaspie and pitchers Heath Hembree, Chris Heston and Yusmeiro Petit should get additional Cactus League playing time.

Here are the likely minor leaguers on the Giants’ 40-man roster:

Pitchers Jake Dunning, Edwin Escobar, Heston, Jean Machi, Dan Otero, Petit, Sandy Rosario, Dan Runzler and Eric Surkamp (out till midseason); infielders Tony Abreu, Ehire Adrianza, Gillaspie, Noonan and Angel Villalona (restricted list); and outfielders Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero and Juan Perez.

Here are the non-roster players who were invited to spring training: pitchers Brett Bochy, Boof Bonser, Fabio Castillo, Edward Concepcion, Steve Edlefsen, Justin Fitzgerald, Chad Gaudin, Hembree, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux, Josh Osich, Scott Proctor, Ryan Sadowski, Michael Kickham, Mason Tobin and Jose Valdez; catchers Tyler LaTorre, Johnny Monell, Guillermo Quiroz, Andrew Susac and Jackson Williams; infielders Brock Bond, Adam Duvall, Ricky Oropesa, Joe Panik, Kensuke Tanaka and Wilson Valdez; and outfielders Cole Gillespie and Brown.

Some of those names should be pretty familiar Grizzlies fans. Others will become more familiar this summer. One guy I’m especially happy for is Bond. I believe this is his first invite to major-league spring training.