SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy minced no words in discussing Yusmeiro Petit's performance on Friday night.
"This was a big start for Petit," Bochy said after the right-hander struck out seven in four innings as the Giants blanked Oakland, 3-0. "I think that he came into camp a little behind with his conditioning, as far as pitching."
Petit probably can't afford to stay behind. That's because left-hander David Huff is pushing Petit for the long-relief role. Huff followed Petit with three perfect innings against the A's.
Bochy said that beginning the season with both Petit and Huff on the staff is "a possibility," though the other contenders for at least two apparent bullpen openings -- Dan Runzler, Kameron Loe, Jean Machi, George Kontos and rookie Derek Law -- will strive to make their presence felt in the exhibition season's final week.
For now, Petit would appear to have an edge. The 4-1 record he compiled toward the end of last season strengthens his credentials. He displayed that form against the A's, limiting them to two hits and relying on his curveball to record most of his strikeouts.
Predictably, Petit said that he felt fine and ready to accept any role. "Long relief, starter, whatever they want," said the 29-year-old, who probably would be first in line to join the rotation if injuries or ineffectiveness derailed one of the Giants' incumbent starters.
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.