Giants hand out 22 invites to big league camp

Giants hand out 22 invites to big league camp

SAN FRANCISCO -- The list of 22 non-roster players invited to the Giants' Major League Spring Training camp includes several intriguing names besides the anticipated ones.

First baseman-outfielder Brandon Belt, San Francisco's top prospect, is part of this group, along with highly touted shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Charlie Culberson. Belt, who hit .352 with 23 home runs and 112 RBIs at three classifications last season, has a chance to win a starting job. Crawford (.236, seven homers and 23 RBIs, mostly at Double-A Richmond) and Culberson (.290, 16, 71 at high-Class A San Jose) are considered potential regulars, though both are expected to need more Minor League seasoning.

Also on the non-roster list are outfielder Gary Brown, San Francisco's first-round selection (24th overall) out of Cal State-Fullerton in last June's First-Year Player Draft, and catcher Tommy Joseph, one of the Giants' leading prospects who played at low-Class A Augusta last season (.236, 16, 68) and made the South Atlantic League All-Star team. At 19, Joseph will be the youngest player in camp.

Right-hander Guillermo Mota technically is a non-roster invitee, though he's likely to make the Opening Day roster. Mota finished 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA and one save in 56 outings with San Francisco last year.

Invitees with Major League experience include right-handers Casey Daigle, Waldis Joaquin, Shane Loux and Ryan Vogelsong, a former Giants prospect whom San Francisco drafted in the fifth round in 1998. In one of general manager Brian Sabean's most successful trades, the Giants dealt Vogelsong and outfielder Armando Rios to Pittsburgh for right-hander Jason Schmidt and outfielder John Vander Wal in 2001.

Catcher Chris Stewart and infielder Brad Eldred also have played in the Majors.

A pair of Class A pitchers who could attract attention are right-hander Jason Stoffel and left-hander Ryan Verdugo. Stoffel led San Jose with 25 saves in 29 chances last year, while Verdugo finished 8-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 44 games at Augusta and San Jose. He also went 4-1, 2.45 in seven starts for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League.

The non-roster contingent is completed by right-hander Felix Romero, left-handers Wilmin Rodriguez and Matt Yourkin, catchers Hector Sanchez and Jackson Williams, second baseman Nick Noonan and outfielders Terry Evans and Juan Perez. This will be Williams' fourth big league camp in a row. Romero, Sanchez and Noonan will participate in their second straight camp.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.