One month from today, on April 4, the Fresno Grizzlies will trot onto the infield in their spiffy home whites for the first of 72 Pacific Coast League ballgames at Chukchansi Park.
You can practically taste the hot dogs and Tecate Light.
In what’s become an annual tradition, here are my predictions for the Grizzlies’ 25-man opening day roster. The last two years I’ve gotten about 20 names correct. It’s inevitable that someone on this list will get injured, and the San Francisco Giants typically stash a couple players in “extended spring training.” There’s also the possibility the Giants have someone in their minor-league camp ticketed for Triple-A that I don’t know about. We don’t get much news from Indian School Park during spring training.
So in other words, this ain’t no can of corn. But here goes:
Catchers (2): Jackson Williams, Guillermo Quiroz
(Both are fairly obvious choices. Tyler LaTorre will also figure in the mix.)
Infielders (6): Brett Pill, Brock Bond, Nick Noonan, Kensuke Tanaka, Ehire Adrianza, Tony Abreu
(The Giants don’t necessarily need a backup 1B with Buster Posey set to play 20-25 games there. Pill, who has a minor-league option, could be the odd man out. … Tanaka has told reporters he’d accept Triple-A assignment, so start brushing up on your Japanese. … Abreu has yet to play in the Cactus League, so Wilson Valdez is predicted to win the Giants’ backup infield job.)
Outfielders (4): Gary Brown, Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick, Juan Perez
(This assumes Cole Gillespie makes the big-league roster. … Peguero is certainly giving the Giants something to think about, but they probably want him to play regularly.
Pitchers (13): Yusmeiro Petit, Chris Heston, Michael Kickham, Boof Bonser, Shane Loux, Heath Hembree, Jean Machi, Dan Otero, Mitch Lively, Scott Proctor, Steve Edlefsen, Sandy Rosario, Brett Bochy
(Jose Mijares’ injury means there are two open spots in the Giants’ bullpen. Chad Gaudin and Dan Runzler appear like the current front-runners. … Ryan Sadowski and Mason Tobin could also figure in; both were sent to minor-league camp last week to rehab injuries.)
4:50 p.m. update: I just realized Tony Abreu is on the Giants’ 40-man roster. So that probably gives him the edge over Wilson Valdez for a backup infield job.
March 6 update: Guess I missed the news that Todd Linden re-signed with the Giants on a minor-league deal. So there’s a very good chance the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in just about every offensive category will be back with the club.