SAN FRANCISCO -- The baseball bromide "you never get enough pitching" might seem to have become a Giants mantra.
The reigning World Series champions will welcome 35 pitchers to camp when batterymates report to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 12. Given the pitching staff's quality and stability, this seems like an excessively large contingent. Health permitting, San Francisco's five-man starting rotation is expected to return intact. And the bullpen has only one apparent vacancy, assuming the club opens the regular season with a 12-man staff.
But the Giants have reason to hoard arms. The pitching pool will become noticeably more shallow in early March, when nine players, including six pitchers, scatter to perform for their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic.
The exodus from the bullpen will be especially dramatic. Of San Francisco's six established relievers, only George Kontos will remain in Arizona. The rest -- Jeremy Affeldt (United States), Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic), Javier Lopez (Puerto Rico), Jose Mijares (Venezuela) and Sergio Romo (Mexico) -- are Classic bound. So is starter Ryan Vogelsong (United States).
Starting pitchers will be continuing to build their endurance during the first half of March while the Classic is under way. Thus, the Giants will need an ample number of relievers to work the four to six innings that starters bequeath to the bullpen.
Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans acknowledged Monday that San Francisco's stockpiling is "definitely related" to the Classic. "We have to be careful with the number of arms we're losing," he said.
The additional pitchers fit all varieties, from rookies such as Jake Dunning and Chris Heston to Major League veterans such as Chad Gaudin and Scott Proctor.
Evans admitted that the number of pitchers in camp might seem a trifle high, but he noted that it isn't overly disproportionate in comparison with previous years. He pointed out that the Giants began camp with 28 pitchers in 2009, 30 in 2010, 29 in '11 and 33 last year.
Other Giants on provisional rosters for the Classic are center fielder Angel Pagan (Puerto Rico) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval and second baseman Marco Scutaro (both Venezuela).
Giants pitchers and catchers will conduct their first workout Feb. 13. Position players are scheduled to report to camp Feb. 15, with the first full-squad workout set for the following day.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less