SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The scene has changed for Todd Wellemeyer, but not the situation. He'll again receive the chance to help a pitching rotation validate its status as one of baseball's best.
After becoming the only Giant to pitch seven innings in a Cactus League game, a mini-feat he accomplished in San Francisco's 5-3 loss Tuesday to the Chicago Cubs, Wellemeyer was asked how he felt to join the distinguished starting staff of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez.
"I came from a really good rotation," Wellemeyer said, referring to the St. Louis Cardinals. Sounding brash and diplomatic from one sentence to the next, he added, "We thought we were better than these guys the whole time anyway. But to go from where I was to here, I'm lucky to be part of such talented guys."
On paper, deciding whether the Giants or Cardinals have a better rotation isn't easy. St. Louis counters San Francisco's contingent with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, Lincecum's rivals for last year's National League Cy Young Award, as well as Brad Penny, Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia.
"We're going to have to prove it," Wellemeyer said. "I know they're solid over there. ... Last year's over with."
Actually, Wellemeyer doesn't officially know whether he's part of this year's Giants rotation. Manager Bruce Bochy continued to resist naming Wellemeyer as San Francisco's No. 5 starter, despite the right-hander's 2.00 ERA in a team-high 27 innings.
However, Bochy confirmed that Wellemeyer, who allowed Chicago three runs and five hits, will start Sunday's exhibition finale against Seattle at AT&T Park -- the spot that the fifth starter would occupy.