Runzler impresses throwing batting practice

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dan Runzler's name rarely is mentioned in speculation involving candidates for what could be the sole vacancy in the Giants' bullpen.

Perhaps that's a mistake.

Runzler looked sharp while throwing batting practice Tuesday, showing no ill effects from the strained left lat muscle which hampered him during much of last year.

Manager Bruce Bochy, who was watching activity on another diamond when Runzler pitched, said pitching coach Dave Righetti told him that the left-hander "looked like he was pitching, not throwing." That has been an issue for Runzler, who has issued 167 walks in 297 1/3 professional innings.

The Giants already have a solid left-handed bullpen contingent with Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Jose Mijares. Asked if San Francisco could possibly open the season with four lefty relievers, Bochy replied, "You can't rule it out."