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03/30/08 4:53 PM ET
Holm, Yabu get spots on Giants' roster
Catcher thrilled to make Opening Day squad
By Jayson Addcox / Special to MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy summed it up best Sunday afternoon when he said the last day of Spring Training is the worst and best day of the exhibition season. Bochy was referring to the roster moves that have to be made in order to reach the final 25-man roster. On Sunday, Bochy was left with the burden of designating veteran left-handed pitcher Steve Kline for assignment. Kline, a veteran and a well-liked guy in the Giants clubhouse, was a casualty of one the Giants' final roster moves that included catcher Eliezer Alfonzo being optioned to Triple-A Fresno. Bochy said it was a difficult decision to make, but with the emergence of relievers Merkin Valdez, Erick Threets and Keiichi Yabu, Kline became expendable. "Anytime you have a veteran like Kline, who is a great player and teammate, it's always a difficult decision," Bochy said. "We just felt at this point we could give some of these kids like Threets, Valdez and Yabu an opportunity." Kline, who had been the Giants' primary left-handed reliever for the last two seasons, struggled last year, posting a 4.70 ERA in 46 innings of work. With Kline gone, Threets and reliever Jack Taschner will look to become the primary lefties out of the bullpen. Threets, a 26-year-old hard-throwing lefty from nearby Hayward, pitched well enough in Spring Training to impress Bochy. "We can use Threets really anytime in the game, from early to middle. He can pitch multiple innings or come in and face a left-hander," Bochy said. "He's a big guy and he did a good job using his changeup in Spring Training. He throws 94 mph and if he locates that changeup, he's tough out there." Catcher Steve Holm and infielder Brian Bocock were two of the surprise players to make the roster. Bocock, who will fill in at shortstop until Omar Vizquel is ready, was a long shot to make the team, but with the injury to Vizquel, he'll be starting Monday on Opening Day. Bocock was elected the 2008 Harry S. Jordan Award winner by his teammates prior to Sunday's game. The award, which is named in honor of a longtime Minor League trainer for the club, is "given in recognition of the player in his first big league camp whose performance and dedication in Spring Training best exemplifies Giants spirit." Holm, a 28-year-old veteran of seven Minor League seasons, was informed when he got to the park in the morning that he would be the team's backup catcher. Holm, who has never played above Double-A, said the first thing he did was send his parents a text message. "This is the best day of my life," Holm said. "I was in Spring Training last year for two weeks, so this year when the first two weeks passed, I started feeling a little better about my chances. I was starting to hide so they couldn't cut me." Bochy, a former catcher in the Majors, said he was most impressed with the way Holm managed the pitching staff. Bochy said he told Holm at the start of Spring Training that he was at the bottom of the totem pole as far as catchers were concerned, but Bochy said the kid hung in there. "He did a real good job handling the pitchers and that's what we were looking for," Bochy said. "With pitching being our strength, we wanted to go with the guy who did the best job handling the pitching staff." In addition, the Giants placed pitchers Vinnie Chulk and Noah Lowry and infielders Vizquel and Kevin Frandsen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. Lowry, Vizquel and Frandsen all underwent surgeries during Spring Training, while Chulk is not quite ready for the season after battling a strained shoulder this spring.
Jayson Addcox is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.