SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Bruce Bochy's desire to avoid yo-yoing pitchers between starting and relieving is genuine, as his approach toward Jonathan Sanchez demonstrates. Bochy said Saturday that if Sanchez begins the season in the bullpen, "it really diminishes [his] possibility of starting." For now, Sanchez is competing for the fifth starter's spot with Russ Ortiz, who has thrown well. Though teams inevitably need an extra starter at some juncture during the season, the Giants are likely to use long reliever Brad Hennessey to plug holes in the rotation when necessary.
Sticking to one role is fine with Sanchez, who said that switching roles last season left him "kind of tired." Sanchez relieved in his first 22 appearances as a rookie last season with the Giants, then went to Triple-A Fresno to acclimate himself to starting. He started in four of his final five appearances after rejoining the Giants. "If they put me in the bullpen the whole year, I'll be fine," Sanchez said. "I just want to get my job done." Sanchez thrived during that span of 22 bullpen appearances, recording a 1.37 ERA as opponents batted .200 against him. He threw 12 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in one stretch, the longest by a Giants reliever in 2006, and threw 7 1/3 hitless innings to open his Major League career. Pitching plans: The order of the Giants' scheduled starters for their first four exhibition games strongly resembles their projected season-opening rotation, although Bochy wouldn't commit to this contingent yet. Barry Zito will start against the Chicago Cubs in Thursday's Cactus League opener, Matt Cain will pitch Friday against Milwaukee, Matt Morris will work Saturday against Milwaukee and Noah Lowry will face Seattle next Sunday. Each will be backed up by a contender for the No. 5 starting vacancy -- Ortiz on Thursday, Hennessey on Friday, Sanchez on Saturday and Sun-Woo Kim on Sunday. Tim Lincecum, the Giants' No. 1 selection in last June's First-Year Player Draft, will be one of the starters for the first intrasquad game Tuesday. The graduate: More than two years after leaving San Jose State University, infielder Kevin Frandsen earned his degree in finance. "It's a burden off my shoulders," said Frandsen, 24. "It's one of those things I was so close to doing."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.