Keep up with Fresno Grizzlies’ opening day

Fresno Grizzlies catcher Jackson Williams takes his swings in the batting cage on Wednesday at Chukchansi Park (MARK CROSSE/THE FRESNO BEE)

10:10 p.m. update: It’s over, mercifully. Tacoma wins 9-1 over the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park in both teams’ Pacific Coast League opener.

First pitch Friday is 7:05 p.m.

9:15 p.m. update: This one has officially gotten out of hand. More poor defense and a couple Tacoma hits, and it’s suddenly 9-1 Rainiers in the sixth.

Tonight’s game won’t make manager Bob Mariano’s highlight reel, that’s for sure.

8:57 p.m. update: Tacoma extends its lead to 5-1 on an error and an RBI single by Eric Thames in the fifth. Fresno stater Yusmeiro Petit lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned)

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Meet your 2013 Fresno Grizzlies

The Fresno Grizzlies just announced their 2013 opening day roster. Here are the 25 names, by position, and be sure to check Monday’s paper or fresnobee.com later tonight for a more in-depth look.

The Grizzlies begin the 144-game Pacific Coast League season Thursday at Chukchansi Park against the Tacoma Rainiers. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Without further adieu, meet your 2013 Grizzlies:

Catchers: Johnny Monell, Jackson Williams

Infielders: Juan Ciriaco, Carter Jurica, Todd Linden, Juan Perez, Kensuke Tanaka

Outfielders: Gary Brown, Chris Dominguez, Cole Gillespie, Roger Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero

Pitchers: Boof Bonser, Jake Dunning, Steve Edlefsen, Heath Hembree, Chris Heston, Michael Kickham, Andrew Kown,  Mitch Lively, Jean Machi,  Yusmeiro Petit, Ramon Ramirez, Sandy Rosario, Dan Runzler

Fresno Grizzlies’ 2013 roster begins to take shape

The Fresno Grizzlies’ opening day roster won’t be finalized until Tuesday or Wednesday, media relations coordinator Chris Kutz says, but the parent-club San Francisco Giants made some roster moves Saturday that give us a clearer picture.

*** The Giants decided to go with three catchers (Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, Guillermo Quiroz), so that meant reassigning outfielder Cole Gillespie to Triple-A Fresno. Gillespie joins a crowded outfield expected to include Francisco Peguero, who was optioned earlier in the week, Gary Brown, Roger Kieschnick and Juan Perez.

(That’s five guys for three spots, which means one of those guys may end up elsewhere or someone has to switch positions. Perez was originally drafted a second baseman, so that might be an option.)

*** Nick Noonan got the nod as a utility infielder (congrats to him), but it also leaves the Grizzlies kind of short on the infield. Todd Linden could be back at first base and Ehire Adrianza is a good bet shortstop. Brock Bond would be a natural fit at second base, but he strained a ribcage muscle a couple weeks ago and may not be ready opening day. Third base? We’ll see.

*** With Quiroz in the majors, look for Jackson Williams to be behind the plate most nights. Johnny Monell and Tyler LaTorre are other possibilities.

*** Brett Pill (knee) will begin the season on the disabled list and could rehab with the Grizzlies.

*** Yusmeiro Petit, second in the Pacific Coast League in ERA last season (3.46) cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Fresno. Look for him to front a starting rotation that includes prospects Chris Heston and Michael Kickham, up from Double-A Richmond, and perhaps former prospect Boof Bonser.

*** Heath Hembree pitched lights out at the end of spring training. He’ll be at the end of a bullpen that likely includes veterans Ramon Ramirez (who accepted a Triple-A assignment) and Jean Machi, lefty Dan Runzler, sinkerballer Steve Edlefsen and others.

*** Stay tuned for more. Grizzlies manager Bob Mariano, his coaching staff and most of the players are scheduled to fly into Fresno on Monday morning from Arizona.

Brock Bond (on way to Fresno Grizzlies?) wins Harry S. Jordan Award in Giants camp

Brock Bond wins the Harry S. Jordan Award given to the best player in his first major-league camp. (Associated Press photo)

Brock Bond likely won’t make the San Francisco Giants’ opening day roster, but the 27-year-old infielder was recognized for his effort Tuesday.

Bond is this year’s winner of  the Harry S. Jordan Award, given annually during spring training to the player who makes the biggest impression during his first major-league camp. The award is voted by Giants players, coaches and training staff.

During six minor-league seasons, the last three with the Fresno Grizzlies, Bond owns a career batting average of .313 with a .410 on-base percentage. This spring, he hit .435 (10 for 23) with two home runs in 13 Cactus League games.

Bond was reassigned to Triple-A Fresno on March 14, so there’s a good chance he opens the season in a Grizzlies uniform. He hit .332 with a .412 on-base percentage here last season.

In other notes:

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San Francisco Giants send 20 players to Triple-A Fresno

Heath Hembree, who recorded 15 saves last season for the Fresno Grizzlies, was among 20 players sent to Triple-A on Friday by the San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Giants made their first wholesale roster cuts of spring training Friday, sending 21 players to minor-league camp and 20 to Triple-A Fresno.

Reassigned to Fresno were pitchers Brett Bochy, Boof Bonser, Steve Edlefsen, Heath Hembree, Mitch Lively, Shane Loux and Michael Kickham; catcher Tyler LaTorre; infielders Ricky Oropesa, Adam Duvall and Brock Bond; and outfielder Gary Brown.

Optioned to Triple-A were pitchers Jake Dunning, Chris Heston, Dan Otero and Sandy Rosario; infielders Ehire Adrianza and Nick Noonan; and outfielders Roger Kieschnick and Juan Perez.

Pitcher Edwin Escobar was optioned to Class-A San Jose.

What’s the difference between being optioned and reassigned? Players on the Giants’ 40-man roster must be optioned; non-roster players are reassigned.

This doesn’t guarantee all 20 of these players will be wearing Grizzlies uniforms come April 4. It just means they’ll be playing in Triple-A games during spring training, unless the Giants need extra bodies.

Fresno Grizzlies getting chance to leave Giant impression

The Fresno Grizzlies’ 2013 season opener is three weeks away — April 4  at Chukchansi Park — making this a good time to check up on how our Boys of Summer are doing in spring training.

With the parent-club San Francisco Giants sending so many players to the World Baseball Classic, more minor -leaguers are getting a chance to show what they can do in Cactus League competition. Through Thursday’s games, seven of the 10 players with the most at-bats (Kensuke Tenaka, Nick Noonan, Cole Gillespie, Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick, Gary Brown and Brett Pill) are thought to be on the bubble between Triple-A and the majors.

Early last week, I made an attempt to predict the Grizzlies’ opening day roster. (The list would look slightly different if I did it today.) Here are some of the latest goings on as the regular reason approaches:

*** Brett Pill is expected to be out three to four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday. Terrible timing for Pill, who is fighting for a roster spot and has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. The timing means Pill could open the season on the disabled list, or in Fresno on a rehab assignment. Pill appeared in 48 games last season for the World Series champs.

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Predicting the 2013 Fresno Grizzlies

Brock Bond, who boasts a .410 career on-base percentage, is predicted to return to the Fresno Grizzlies for another season.

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.