02/17/2013 5:28 PM ET
At Giants camp, Bonser back where it all began
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Boof Bonser has received another opportunity to fulfill the destiny that the Giants envisioned for him 13 years ago.
Bonser, San Francisco's No. 1 selection (21st overall) in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, is in big league camp as a non-roster invitee -- no longer a prospect, but still a candidate to provide depth. A starter for most of his professional career, Bonser could fill a long relief role that the Giants currently don't have but may deem necessary.
"I'd love to be up with the team that drafted me," said Bonser, who went to Minnesota with Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano in the notorious A.J. Pierzynski trade in November 2003.
Making 60 starts in 111 appearances spanning four seasons with the Twins, Red Sox and A's, Bonser compiled a 19-25 record with a 5.18 ERA from 2006-10. He started only one Triple-A game in April 2011 before undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, which didn't deter the Giants from signing him as a Minor League free agent in December of that year.
"I was very surprised that they called me and asked me to come back," Bonser said Sunday of the Giants. "I thought that was great."
Bonser made six appearances in the Arizona Rookie League last year as part of his rehabilitation before going 0-3, 4.50 in 11 games (seven starts) with Triple-A Fresno.
The right-hander's saga seems as fleeting as it has been eventful.
"I get drafted at 17; all of a sudden I'm 31 now," Bonser said. "It's kind of a -- I don't want to say 'culture shock' -- but like, wow."
Meulens to depart for Classic duties Tuesday
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hitting coach Hensley Meulens will be the first member of the Giants to depart for his World Baseball Classic duties. He's due to leave Tuesday to begin his stint managing the Netherlands squad.
Fortunately for the Giants, they have plenty of staffers available to compensate for Meulens' absence.
Joe Lefebvre, who works alongside Meulens, will take on more responsibility, along with Minor League hitting coordinator Steve Decker. The list of staffers who can help pick up the slack includes Triple-A Fresno manager Bob Mariano, a former hitting instructor.
• Manager Bruce Bochy said that backup catcher Hector Sanchez has room for improvement in his physical conditioning. Nevertheless, Bochy believes that Sanchez, who hit a promising .280 as a rookie last year, can claim a more prominent role this season. "Hopefully he'll continue to try to improve, learn from last year and try to play his way into more playing time," Bochy said Sunday. Sanchez started 48 games last year, many of which included Buster Posey's shifting to first base.
• Former Giants second baseman Jeff Kent arrived in camp as the spring's first guest instructor. "He's very well-respected," Bochy said of Kent, whose .290 average and 377 home runs in 17 big league seasons established him as a Hall of Fame candidate. "The guys know what kind of player he was."
• The pace of camp will accelerate Monday with the first live batting-practice sessions as 16 pitchers will face hitters.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.