SAN FRANCISCO -- Like ballplayers, coaches and managers, who all insist on approaching the long season a game at a time, we're handling our Spring Training countdown one topic at a time. During the coming week, you'll read separate stories on newcomers, prospects and projections for this season.Here's a look
SAN FRANCISCO -- Like ballplayers, coaches and managers, who all insist on approaching the long season a game at a time, we're handling our Spring Training countdown one topic at a time. During the coming week, you'll read separate stories on newcomers, prospects and projections for this season.
Here's a look at several Giants who are "on the rebound" -- intent on recovering from a subpar season or inconvenient injuries. San Francisco's list is long, considering that manager Bruce Bochy's projected everyday lineup for 2015 played exactly one game together. Here are the Giants who hope that Spring Training will propel them onward and upward:
• Giants' Spring Training info
1B Brandon Belt: It's odd to label Belt, who amassed a personal-best 18 home runs and 68 RBIs last year, as somebody in need of a resurgence. But after sustaining his third concussion in six years, which caused him to miss the season's final 15 games, Belt's striving to stay on the field.
OF Gregor Blanco: Like Belt, Blanco's coming off a concussion-plagued season, despite managing to hit a career-high .291. He endured not one but two concussions, missing the final 22 games with the second one. The Giants have come to rely heavily on Blanco, who's entering his fifth year with the club.
RHP Matt Cain: The Giants are hoping that Cain's final start of last season, featuring five shutout innings against Colorado on Oct. 4, signaled better days ahead. The club also believes that an offseason of rest, mingled with just the right amount of exercise, will help Cain approach his All-Star form.
OF Angel Pagan: A familiar, vicious cycle continued to nag at Pagan, who's entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million contract. When he's healthy enough to be in the lineup, he plays hard and effectively. Then his sincere effort causes him to aggravate his sore knees, which in turn force him back to the bench. Partly for that reason, Pagan almost certainly will relinquish center field to Denard Span and play left instead.
2B Joe Panik: Panik was enjoying a dream season in his first full year in the Majors, featuring his first All-Star selection, when inflammation in his lower back spoiled everything. He missed almost all of the season's final two months. Panik is said to be feeling good, but the fact that an otherwise healthy 25-year-old is wrestling with back problems prompts concern.
RF Hunter Pence Pence is quick to point out that the health problems he experienced last year began with a freak injury: Fracturing his left forearm when he was hit by a pitch in a March 5 Cactus League game. Accustomed to playing most or all of the regular season's 162 games, Pence also missed time with tendinitis in his left wrist and a strained left oblique. The Giants' 35-17 record in games Pence started reflected his value to the team.
C Andrew Susac: Right wrist surgery ended Susac's season about a month early. When he was healthy, he performed capably as Buster Posey's backup. Susac handled the role so well that observers increasingly wondered whether the Giants might be better off with Posey at first base and Susac catching. However, the Giants were 14-19 in games Susac started.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.