David Huff Will Win Long Relief Role With San Francisco Giants

By John Shea
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants aren’t ready to announce which pitcher will make the 25-man roster out of camp as a long-reliever, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that David Huff holds the edge over Yusmeiro Petit to claim that role. Huff has yet to throw a pitch in an exhibition game this spring, but has emerged as the de facto favorite to win the job specifically because of the Petit’s enormous struggles.

Petit has been awful in two appearances thus far in camp. He’s registered a 27.00 ERA while allowing seven earned runs on 11 hits in just 2.1 innings of work. Opponents have recorded an alarming .647 batting average against Petit. A lot can change over the course of the next four weeks, but Petit remains distant from aiding his cause. Unlike players who are guaranteed roster spots before camp, Petit needed to showcase a consistent ability to get hitters out throughout Spring Training in order to claim a 25-man roster spot. So far, he’s failed on a massive level.

Huff likely would have competed for a spot in the New York Yankees‘ starting rotation before the team acquired Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka, but he will assume an important role in the Giants’ bullpen instead. The southpaw will benefit the Giants as an optimally dependable spot starter who can also spell starters if disaster ensues at the beginning of a ball game. Madison Bumgarner is the only left-handed pitcher in the Giants’ rotation, which increases Huff’s value in comparison to Petit.

Huff’s career numbers aren’t outrageously impressive. He owns a 21-27 record with a 5.32 ERA in 323 innings of work, spanning 64 appearances over five seasons. His career 1.498 WHIP is a concerning figure, but if he outperforms Petit over the duration of camp, he’s practically a lock to make the Opening Day roster. Huff possesses six pitches in his repertoire: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutter, slider, curveball and change-up. His two-seamer tops out at 92 mph, while his change-up ranges from 82 to 85 mph. He mostly mixes both of those pitches to get hitters out.

The Giants avoided arbitration with Petit over the winter, signing the 29-year-old hurler to a one-year deal worth $845,000. It’s the biggest guaranteed contract of Petit’s up-and-down career. He could prove to be a reliable backup option for the Giants if Huff falters, although it seems likely that Petit is headed for triple-A Fresno. Petit was a feel-good story for the Giants in 2013, recording a 4-1 record with a 3.56 ERA in seven starts. The success he enjoyed last season hasn’t carried over into Spring Training, though, supplying Huff with a clear-cut opportunity to make the Giants’ 25-man roster out of camp.

John Shea is a San Francisco Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cutthroatpicks. “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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