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Holland 'in the mix' for Giants' pitching staff

Longoria returns with heel, ankle feeling good
MLB.com @alysonfooter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Derek Holland began Spring Training with the Giants as a non-roster invitee hoping a good showing would lead to him cracking the rotation or, at the very least, a spot in the bullpen.

His final destination is still to be determined, but including a decent 3 1/3-inning performance in Wednesday's 5-4 Giants loss to the Mariners at Peoria Stadium, the veteran left-hander has achieved at least one goal, in giving the Giants a viable option to fill out their pitching staff when they break camp in less than two weeks.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Derek Holland began Spring Training with the Giants as a non-roster invitee hoping a good showing would lead to him cracking the rotation or, at the very least, a spot in the bullpen.

His final destination is still to be determined, but including a decent 3 1/3-inning performance in Wednesday's 5-4 Giants loss to the Mariners at Peoria Stadium, the veteran left-hander has achieved at least one goal, in giving the Giants a viable option to fill out their pitching staff when they break camp in less than two weeks.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring Training information

The 31-year-old Holland yielded one run on four hits against the Mariners, walking two and striking out four. It added to a body of work that has produced a 3.27 ERA over four outings.

After exiting the game, Holland sounded like he was at peace whatever the outcome. He wanted to prove to himself and the Giants that he is healthy, after enduring a rough year with the White Sox in 2017. He feels he has done that.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"This team, this is a good ballclub," Holland said. "Whether I'm on the team or not, this team is going to be something special. A lot of talent over here and it's been fun to watch. Hopefully, I'll be on the same side."

Holland had few issues with the Mariners in the first two innings. He was aided by a double play in each frame, but then the traffic on the basepaths got a little thicker.

He yielded a leadoff homer to Mike Marjama in the third, walked Jean Segura with two outs and gave up a base hit to Mitch Haniger. He left the game in the fourth, after striking out Daniel Vogelbach.

"Today I was just upset with the walks," Holland said. "My strength is the lefties; to walk a lefty like that is something I shouldn't be doing. We made sure we didn't let anything happen out of it."

Video: SF@SEA: Holland, Bochy on Holland's spring start

Holland has been in the running for a spot in the rotation, but a viable destination would be the bullpen, where he could open the season as a long reliever. The Giants have two off-days in the opening week of the regular season, which means they could start things off with a four-man rotation.

Ty Blach and Chris Stratton are pitching well enough to merit spots in the rotation, but they also have options remaining and could start the season in the Minor Leagues. That may be a way in for Holland to sneak onto the 25-man roster when camp breaks.

"Oh, sure," manager Bruce Bochy said, when asked if Holland is in the equation. "You have a pro out there. He's shown good stuff, too. He's commanding the ball well. Good changeup. You saw him with traffic, he had good poise out there. He knows what he's doing. Sure, he's in the mix."

Injury update

Playing in his first game since last Wednesday, third baseman Evan Longoria doubled and struck out Wednesday and had no issues running the bases. Longoria, who was sidelined with a sore left heel and ankle, said his timing at the plate is still a bit off, but overall was happy with the outcome.

"It didn't feel any different than if I was just standing around," he said. "It's a good thing."

Video: SF@SEA: Longoria skies a double in the 2nd

Longoria has a little catching up to do, but with approximately two weeks remaining before Opening Day, he is confident he'll get enough at-bats to be ready. He's aiming for around 40. After Wednesday's game, he has 17.

"We have 15 days left," Longoria said. "There will be plenty of time for at-bats. I don't feel like I'm that far off, either. Timing-wise, that just comes with at-bats. The more I start to pile up, have at-bats in back-to-back days, it'll start to click."

Bochy said if Longoria still feels good when he arrives to camp Thursday, he'll accompany the team back to Peoria for their game with the Padres, which would give the third baseman consecutive starts before the team's scheduled day off Friday.

Video: SF@SEA: Longoria, Bochy on Longoria's health, timing

Up next

The Giants will play the third of their three straight night games and their fourth straight on the road when they visit the Padres on Thursday at 5:40 p.m. PT. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija will make his fourth Cactus League appearance looking to improve on his most recent outing, when he allowed five runs over four innings in a loss to the Mariners. Also scheduled to pitch for San Francisco are right-handers Cory Gearrin and Roberto Gomez and lefty Tony Watson.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

San Francisco Giants, Derek Holland, Evan Longoria