Romero gets starting nod in place of Cueto

Blanks notes 'great experience' with Giants' medical staff

Romero gets starting nod in place of Cueto

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Johnny Cueto's removal as the Giants' starter for Saturday's split-squad exhibition against Texas creates a fresh opportunity for Ricky Romero, who will inherit the assignment against Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels.

It's a quality opportunity for Romero, a 2011 American League All-Star with Toronto who subsequently sustained injuries to both knees. Romero's history of success, along with the fact that he throws left-handed, intrigues the Giants, who remain on a constant lookout for pitching depth.

• Giants push back Cueto's spring debut

Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Romero, a non-roster invitee who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2013, would have appeared as a reliever. Instead, he'll perform in the role to which he's most accustomed.

"I look forward to seeing him," Bochy said Friday. "I haven't seen him throw a side [session], but he has experience as a starter, so this is a good thing for him. There's got to be a sense of comfort for him."

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Bochy added the Giants should get a "truer read" of Romero's abilities by using him to start instead of relieve.

Blanks appreciates Giants' care

If you've seen Kyle Blanks play, you probably remember him. Carrying 265 pounds on a muscular 6-foot-6 frame, Blanks was a noticeable presence from 2009-14 with San Diego, one of the Giants' National League West rivals.

Somewhat cruelly, Blanks' hulking body has betrayed him far too often. A non-roster invitee to Giants camp, Blanks hopes to stay healthy enough to make an impression, if not the Opening Day squad. He displayed his power with a home run Thursday against Milwaukee.

Blanks' solo homer

"They know how I play," Blanks said, referring to the Giants' and Padres' familiarity with each other.

Blanks' litany of injuries includes plantar fasciitis, Tommy John elbow surgery, a strained left shoulder, left Achilles tendinitis and a strained left calf. He has savored the caring attitude of the Giants' medical staff.

"I've had an immense amount of help," Blanks said Friday. "I think there are a lot of good people here, interested in more than just the game and kind of on the people side. I can't say I've been treated badly in the other places I've been, but I can definitely say here they definitely care beyond the point of some places. I know not everywhere you're seen as a name, a lot of places you're seen as a number. They definitely go a little deeper and it's been a great experience so far."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.