Play Ball! Giants Begin Cactus League Play - NBC Bay Area

Play Ball! Giants Begin Cactus League Play



    Play Ball! Giants Begin Cactus League Play
    Getty Images
    Tim Lincecum kicks off the Cactus League season for the Giants.

    Your long, baseball-less, national nightmare is over, San Francisco Giants fans. The 2010 MLB season is in some sense arguably underway as the Giants begin the exhibition Cactus League season Wednesday at noon, facing the Seattle Mariners in Peoria, Arizona.

    Okay, Giants fans, this is your first chance to look at  -- or, if you are not in Arizona, listen to on KNBR -- your revamped 2010 San Francisco Giants roster. Recall that in the off-season, the Giants added versatile, hard-hitting infielder Mark DeRosa, and 2008 Silver Slugger winner Aubrey Huff.

    Yes, these two free agents would be much more exciting acquisitions if they were still in their 20s. Or even early 30s. But these two are still upgrades to an ineffective Giants batting line-up that last season couldn't score with a pocketful of $100 bills and Tiger Woods as their wingman.

    Another subplot with which you'll want to obsess over is Madison Bumgarner's quest for the fifth spot in the pitching rotation. The 19-year-old Bumgarner is expected to be the Giants' next Tim Lincecum, just without the Joey Ramone haircut. Bumgarner will battle it out with journeyman vet acquisition Todd Wellemeyer for that spot, with the loser probably getting long relief duty.

    Andrew Baggarly has your first exhibition game roster on his Mercury News blog. No Edgar Renteria, no Freddy Sanchez, no Ishikawa, no Kung Fu Panda. Sanchez figures to begin the season on the DL, Renteria and Sandoval are likely to return for Thursday's exhibition tilt with the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Hey, are these the same Milwaukee Brewers whom we last saw obnoxiously overcelebrating at the Giants' expense? And the same Milwaukee Brewers who have significant bad blood with newly-acquired Giant Guillermo Mota?

    That sounds like a Cactus League game where the pitchers might hit the batters more than the batters get hits against the pitchers. Oh man, do I miss baseball.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is already counting down the hours to Giants Snuggie Day on April 23.