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Blach has strengthened case for roster spot

26-year-old lefty has made strong case for rotation or bullpen spot
March 26, 2017

PHOENIX -- Though Ty Blach pitched well enough Sunday to claim the Giants' No. 5 starter's spot, manager Bruce Bochy will wait until Thursday to name the season-opening winner of that role.A competent fifth starter typically lasts twice through the opponents' batting order before hitters can figure him out, then

PHOENIX -- Though Ty Blach pitched well enough Sunday to claim the Giants' No. 5 starter's spot, manager Bruce Bochy will wait until Thursday to name the season-opening winner of that role.
A competent fifth starter typically lasts twice through the opponents' batting order before hitters can figure him out, then it's bullpen time. Facing the White Sox, Blach would have fit the description of a capable starter almost anywhere in the rotation, yielding two runs on seven hits through six innings in the Giants' 4-3 loss.
"Solid, solid job," Bochy said.
Blach, who retained his rookie status despite his late-season stint with the Giants last year, said that he's enjoying himself too much to worry about such a trifling matter as his job description.
"Whatever happens is going to happen," said Blach, whose eight-inning shutout against the Dodgers in the next-to-last game of 2016 strengthened San Francisco's Wild Card bid. "I feel like wherever I'm going to be, I know I'm going to be in a good spot."

That could be as part of the rotation in San Francisco or Sacramento, or it could be in the Giants' bullpen. Bochy hasn't ruled out using the 26-year-old as a complement -- or perhaps as an alternative -- to fellow left-handers Steven Okert and Josh Osich.
Blach has started in 98 of his 100 Minor League appearances, but insisted that he could adjust smoothly to the bullpen. Relieving twice and starting twice in his four Giants outings broadened his perspective.
"I feel like last year helped me a lot, being able to do both in September and October," Blach said. "That kind of helped me mentally to know that I could do that."
He admitted that he was a slave to the routine of starting.
"Now I know it's the same game," Blach said. "You just go execute pitches. Mentally and physically, I feel like I'm definitely ready to do whatever, whenever they need me to."
Blach's fastball would help him adjust to any role. It wasn't overpowering Sunday, but it was effective.
"To be able to use it the way he did was perfect. Fastballs in, jamming guys," Giants catcher Tim Federowicz said. "He had enough on his slider down and in to keep them honest. He threw a couple of first-pitch curveballs, but his ability to throw the slider down and in helped him a lot on fastballs down and in."
Asked whether Blach could cope with coming out of the bullpen, even if just on a temporary basis, Federowicz expressed confidence in the young southpaw. "I wouldn't be worried about him relieving."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.