Kensuke Tanaka fields a ground ball to his left - Photo credit - Norm Hall
That leaves two middle infielders competing for one job, but the Giants have other options. Like Ryan Theriot.
You knew it was coming, so it's not exactly news, but Tanakamania is going to have to wait a few weeks. Kensuke Tanaka was a .300-hitting second baseman for a first-place team in Japan last year, but if he wants to reach the majors, he'll have to get hot in Fresno. Which probably won't be much of a problem around July or so. From Alex Pavlovic:
Kensuke Tanaka was reassigned today and will report to the minor league complex tomorrow. Tanaka has in the past made it clear that he would be willing to play for the Fresno Grizzlies to keep his dream alive, but you have to wonder if that will change after this rough spring.
Bruce Bochy made a crack about Tony Abreu's slow-healing knee yesterday, and Wilson Valdez is the only other middle infielder in camp. The situation is bad enough that Chris Haft brought up Ryan Theriot as something the Giants would do on purpose, and ... hey, that doesn't sound so bad when the alternative is Valdez. Did you know that Theriot had an OBP that was 80 points higher than Valdez? It's true. For his career, Theriot's OBP is 60 points higher than Valdez's.
Plus, there's no temptation to play Theriot at short. He would do so in an emergency only. Whereas with Valdez, Bochy could play match-ups against a lefty, and he could give Belt a day off by putting Valdez at short, Joaquin Arias at third, and sliding Pablo Sandoval over to first.
So this is a half-hearted defense of Ryan Theriot.
You just read a defense of Ryan Theriot.
If the counter-argument is Wilson Valdez, you're damn skippy you did. My order of preferred outcomes for the last-infielder battle:
1. Tony Abreu gets healthy, shows off
2. An interesting player available because of a roster crunch
3. Ryan Theriot
4. A honeybee plague that devastates the agricultural world
5. Wilson Valdez
6. Ronny Cedeno
7. Chone Figgins
Oh, fine. I wouldn't really take the honeybees over the last three, but I'd think about it. Theriot's apparently holding out for a starting job, kind of like I'm holding out for my own TV show based on my sexy, life-changing Clubhouse Confidential appearance. Could happen! Probably won't happen. Should probably keep collecting paychecks and not expecting it to happen. The dream was real for a bit, though.