Giants' Opening Day roster will be tested

March 26th, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants approach the 60th anniversary of their inaugural season in San Francisco focused not on making fresh history, but on surviving.
Injuries to three key pitchers -- , Will Smith and Jeff Samardzija -- could hamper the Giants in the early going. They'll try to hover around the .500 mark with a revitalized offense that includes newcomers , and .
The Giants should get an accurate early read at how they stack up in the division race. They'll play 23 of their first 31 games against National League West foes, including 10 against the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Projected Opening Day lineup

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. , 1B
  3. McCutchen, RF
  4. , C
  5. Longoria, 3B
  6. , LF
  7. , SS
  8. Joe Panik, 2B
  9. , P

Key roles
• Leadoff -- Manager Bruce Bochy likely will employ a platoon that features Panik facing right-handers and Jackson confronting left-handed starters, at least to begin the season. This assumes -- and it's still an assumption -- that left-handed-batting begins the season in Triple-A.
• Set-up relief -- Though roles will become more defined after the season's first few weeks, expect Sam Dyson, and Tony Watson to be asked to record the truly big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.
• Closer -- This is 's job, though Bochy won't hesitate to consider alternatives if the right-hander struggles to open the season. Any of the aforementioned three relievers would be leading options to replace Melancon.

Injury updates
• Bumgarner -- The would-be Opening Day starter had three pins inserted into his fractured left hand last Saturday and is expected to be shelved for a minimum of six to eight weeks.
• Samardzija -- Nursing a strained right pectoral muscle, he'll likely rest for 10 days before he resumes throwing. The right-hander probably will need at least a couple of weeks after that to rebuild his arm strength.
• Smith -- Completing his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery, Smith is expected to join the Giants on or around May 1.