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Giants solidify Opening Day roster

@mi_guardado
March 28, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants’ Opening Day roster has officially been set, and it’s not without a few surprises. The group includes three players who were acquired in the last week of Spring Training, likely presaging the constant roster tinkering that will be expected under president of baseball operations Farhan

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants’ Opening Day roster has officially been set, and it’s not without a few surprises. The group includes three players who were acquired in the last week of Spring Training, likely presaging the constant roster tinkering that will be expected under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi this year.

Mac Williamson stood out as the most notable omission, as he was designated for assignment after batting .237 with a .608 OPS in 22 exhibition games this spring. Alen Hanson and Tom Murphy were also cut.

Here’s a look at the 25 players who will open the season with the Giants on Thursday:

Catcher (2): Buster Posey, Erik Kratz

Rene Rivera appeared to be the frontrunner for the backup catcher job for most of the spring before the Giants decided to release the 35-year-old veteran last week. One day later, San Francisco acquired Kratz from the Brewers and named him its No. 2 catcher behind Posey. Kratz is known as a plus defender and emerged as a hero in last year’s National League Division Series for Milwaukee, going 5-for-8 with two RBIs.

First base (1): Brandon Belt

Belt was one of the Giants’ most productive hitters during Spring Training, batting .370 with a 1.127 OPS, four home runs and eight RBIs over 18 games.

Second base (1): Joe Panik

Panik, who had been viewed as a non-tender candidate after posting a career-low .639 OPS last year, reported to camp fitter and lighter and turned heads after hitting .426 with a .960 OPS over 17 Cactus League games.

Third base (1): Evan Longoria

The Giants are feeling bullish about Longoria, who is also eager to put his disappointing 2018 campaign behind him. The 33-year-old veteran finished Spring Training batting .265 with a .710 OPS and two home runs over 19 games.

Shortstop (1): Brandon Crawford

Crawford got off to a slow start this spring, but he’ll be back to anchor the Giants’ talented infield defense.

Outfield (3): Steven Duggar, Gerardo Parra, Michael Reed

The Giants will open the season with only three true outfielders, though Yangervis Solarte and Rule 5 Draft pick Connor Joe can also provide coverage in left field. Reed, who was acquired from the Twins last week, fills a key need as a right-handed hitter who can back up Duggar in center field.

Utility (3): Yangervis Solarte, Connor Joe, Pablo Sandoval

There had been some question as to whether the Giants would carry Sandoval, but the Panda earned a bench spot after the club opted to designate Hanson for assignment. Hanson’s departure leaves Solarte as the Giants’ primary backup shortstop.

Starting pitcher (5): LHP Madison Bumgarner, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Dereck Rodriguez, RHP Jeff Samardzija, LHP Drew Pomeranz

No surprises here. The Giants weren’t sure how Samardzija would look this spring after struggling with a shoulder injury last year, but he proved that he’s healthy after posting a 3.97 ERA in six exhibition starts.

Relief pitcher (8): LHP Will Smith, LHP Tony Watson, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Sam Dyson, RHP Reyes Moronta, RHP Nick Vincent, LHP Travis Bergen, RHP Trevor Gott

A trio of newcomers -- Vincent, Bergen and Gott -- will join a talented core and amplify the Giants’ deepest unit. San Francisco doesn’t have a ton of flexibility here, as Moronta is the only relief arm that can be optioned.

Here’s the projected 25-man roster in list form:

CATCHERS
Buster Posey
Erik Kratz

INFIELDERS
Brandon Belt
Joe Panik
Evan Longoria
Brandon Crawford

OUTFIELDERS
Steven Duggar
Gerardo Parra
Michael Reed

UTILITY PLAYERS
Pablo Sandoval
Yangervis Solarte
Connor Joe

STARTING PITCHERS
LHP Madison Bumgarner
LHP Derek Holland
RHP Dereck Rodriguez
RHP Jeff Samardzija
LHP Drew Pomeranz

RELIEF PITCHERS
LHP Will Smith
LHP Tony Watson
RHP Mark Melancon
RHP Sam Dyson
RHP Reyes Moronta
LHP Travis Bergen
RHP Nick Vincent
RHP Trevor Gott

INJURED LIST
RHP Johnny Cueto

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.