Relief candidates shine against Angels

Relief candidates shine against Angels

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- Keep an eye on Jose De Paula. Manager Bruce Bochy and the rest of the Giants' decision-makers say so.

De Paula, 26, has made two Cactus League appearances and looked impressive both times. The left-hander was especially dominant in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, striking out three batters and allowing a hit in two innings.

"He has been the talk around camp right now with his early success, pounding the strike zone on both sides of the plate," Bochy said of De Paula, whom the Giants claimed off waivers from San Diego last November.

Bochy also addressed the effectiveness of another left-handed reliever, Dan Runzler, who's also unscored upon in two games.

"He's been throwing the ball well, too," Bochy said. "He looks like a different guy this spring and very determined with the way he's been pitching."

But Bochy said the Giants aren't committed to keeping a third left-hander to join Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez in the bullpen.

"When it comes down to making our last couple of choices, we'll go with our best arms and who we think we're better suited to go with," Bochy said.

Another relief candidate, right-hander Heath Hembree, recorded the save by pitching a perfect ninth inning. Hembree thus recovered from a dreadful outing against Oakland last Friday, when he entered the ninth inning with the score tied and generated the A's winning run by walking the leadoff batter, balking him to second base and botching a ground ball before wild-pitching the runner home.

"Great job of bouncing back off what would be hard to find a tougher outing than he had," Bochy said. "He covered every box in screwups. ... That's what you want from your guys, to bounce back and wash those rough days off."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.