SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) ― Jeff Suppan hopes to win a job on the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
Having played for Boston (twice), Arizona, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis (twice) and Milwaukee, the 36-year-old right-hander is competing for a spot on a team that appears to have pitching depth.
“I’m viewing this opportunity as anything, whether it’s starting or long relief,” he said this week. “There is a good group of players here, a good mix of veteran guys and a few younger ones, so it’s been an easy transition so far.”
Suppan is at spring training with a minor league contract and would get a $1 million, one-year deal if added to the major league roster. He was 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 15 starts and 15 relief appearances with Milwaukee and St. Louis last year, when he was slowed by a neck injury.
“Soup knows the situation, where we’re at, what he needs to do,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He gives us depth with our starting situation, but we’ll see how things work out once we get into the spring a little deeper.”
Suppan finished 12-12 with a 4.62 ERA for Milwaukee in 2007, then went 10-10 with a 4.96 in 2008 and slipped to 7-12 with a 5.29 the following year.
“Those were two rough years,” he said. “The issues were definitely physical. It was a battle. I was unaware of the full magnitude of what was happening to me physically, but now I have a better understanding. A pitcher relies on the speed of his fastball and his pitch location maybe even more so. Ultimately, you have to hit your spots. I was missing my location, the pitches were coming over the middle of the plate and they were hitting them. Now I have addressed the situation through improvements in my conditioning and with my overall strength.”
NOTES: Bochy was encouraged by Monday’s bullpen session of closer Brian Wilson, who has been dealing with a stiff back. “It’s good to see the back clearing up.” Bochy said. The manager even stepped into the batter’s box. “He’s got good control, so I knew he wouldn’t hit me,” Bochy said. “He knows that any pitch, I could take him deep” … Reserve C Eli Whiteside will be sidelined a few more days because of elbow inflammation. … Bochy knows SS Miguel Tejada wants to play as many games as possible. Tejada stays in good shape, and Bochy said he will pick his spots in regard to when he gives Tejada rest, such as a day game after a night game. … Bochy said CF Andres Torres is “an integral part of our lineup, particularly one that doesn’t have a lot of speed.”
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