Kontos focused on keeping role in Giants bullpen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite a 2012 campaign in which he posted a 2.47 ERA in 44 appearances, George Kontos is not taking anything for granted as he begins his second season in the Giants organization.

"I have options and whenever you have options there is always the possibility you could be the guy sent out," said Kontos, 27. "I'm coming in here with the thought process and the mentality that I'm still fighting for my spot. I'm going to go out there and pitch as if it's the regular season."

In six innings this spring, Kontos has allowed one earned run while striking out seven.

The right-handed reliever is pleased with his performance thus far but still feels he has room to improve before the regular season gets under way.

"I think I'm pretty close," Kontos said. "My slider, which is my best pitch, is a little inconsistent right now. Another few more outings and I think it'll be exactly where it needs to be. I'm really happy with my fastball command. I'm happy with my sinker. Everything has been going really well with location."

In addition to his 44 appearances with the Giants, Kontos appeared in 23 Minor League games last year. The 67 appearances were the most of Kontos' career and taught him the value of each pitch.

"The biggest thing for me was just learning how to pitch that often," Kontos said. "I really learned how to minimize my pitches when I was out there. Going after hitters, being aggressive, pitching to contact, that was the biggest thing. Going after hitters to get out of innings with maybe 10 pitches as opposed to 18, 19, 20, 25."

As a result of the extended workload and with a newfound knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the Majors, Kontos altered his offseason routine to prepare himself for 2013.

Kontos was supposed to begin throwing in mid-January but opted to start picking up the baseball shortly after Thanksgiving to "build endurance [because] innings are going to start piling up quick."

While Kontos is approaching Spring Training with a high level of intensity, he is now more comfortable with the guys in the clubhouse and is looking forward to 2013.

"Overall last year was a big learning experience," Kontos said. "I had great guys around me that showed me the ropes and [I hope] to build off of the experience."

William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.