Giants Play Ball in Scottsdale

Need an encouraging thought to get through this endless, miserable stretch of awful and wet weather? Giants' Spring Training is officially underway in Scottsdale, AZ, where it's clear skies all week. Pitchers and catchers reported Sunday, and the rest of the roster has since reported for duty.

Everyday, up-to-date photos of these proceedings can be found courtesy some unreasonably dedicated Giants fan at a blog called Giants Jottings. Look, there's Randy Johnson in a Giants warm-up suit!

What's most notably new and improved about these freshly-minted '09 Giants is the addition of two big-name veterans -- pitcher Randy Johnson and shortstop Edgar Renteria. Johnson was delegated a lighter fielding load in his first Giants practice, but would have none of it and participated fully.

Encouraging! Sort of less encouraging is that Renteria comes into Spring Training ranked by ESPN as this off season's worst free agent acquisition in all of baseball.

These Giants have brought in 29 -- count 'em -- 29 pitchers to compete for the roster. What matters most is that aces Tim Lincecum and Brian Johnson are among these 29, and at full health. What matters some is that Noah Lowry started Spring Training with stiffness in his right arm, so for the time being will cede the number five spot in the pitching rotation to Jonathan Sanchez.

Your 2009 Giants starting rotation currently begins with Lincecum, followed by Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Johnson, and then Sanchez.

It's Cactus League practice every day for the Giants from here to Opening Week. They open Cactus League play next Wednesday, Feb. 25, against the Cleveland Indians.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose work has often been described as "cactus league".

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