Monday, April 03, 2006

It's Bye-Bye Baby, 2006 Edition

Best wishes to my San Francisco Giants, who begin the 2006 baseball season today in San Diego versus the Padres. After the horrors of last season, almost anything would be an improvement.

Much of the Giants' fortune — or lack thereof — will depend upon the health of relief stopper Armando Benitez, who was placed on the disabled list this past weekend with bursitis in his left knee, and 41-year-old left fielder Barry Bonds, who will attempt to squeeze another season out of his rapidly aging joints on his way to the Hall of Fame.

The bright spots for the G-Men include the starting rotation, which looks as good as any fivesome the Giants have fielded in years. If ace Jason Schmidt pitches like he has in previous seasons (as opposed to last year when he was stinking up the joint more often than not), and if my fellow former Pepperdine Wave Noah Lowry earns the fat four-year deal he just inked, prospects are good. If these guys tank, it'll be a long summer.

On the field, a full year of last year's late-season hero Randy Winn should help. With guys like Steve Finley, Jose Vizcaino (in his second tour of duty in San Francisco), and Mark Sweeney on the bench, the Giants are loaded and deep.

But ultimately, as it always is with the Giants, it's Barry. If he's back to any semblance of his customary form, excellent. If he's hurt most of this season as he was last year... as I said, it'll be a long summer.

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