SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants acquired some necessary pitching depth on Thursday, signing free-agent right-hander Jeff Suppan to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp.
Suppan has been primarily a starter during a Major League career that began in 1995, making 411 of 442 appearances in that role. The Giants have no viable candidates to join their rotation if one of their starters sustained an injury -- which looms as a greater concern this year, given the inflated innings totals accumulated by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner as the club surged to its World Series triumph.
"It just gives us a chance to look at him versus the other options we have," Giants vice president of player personnel Bobby Evans said. "You're always trying to add to the depth and give the club some options."
The Giants also are considering converting left-hander Dan Runzler from relieving to starting. Also, a handful of their six-year Minor League free agents who were invited to camp have starting experience.
Suppan made half of his 30 appearances last year with Milwaukee and St. Louis as a reliever, displaying versatility that could prove handy when he's not starting. The 36-year-old owns a 138-143 lifetime record with a 4.69 ERA for six teams. He won as many as 16 games in consecutive years with St. Louis (2004-05).
Suppan has not recorded an ERA under 4.12 since 2005. But he's 19-14 lifetime against the other four National League West teams, including 7-2 against the Colorado Rockies.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.