The San Francisco Giants have pretty much narrowed down their group of Opening Day roster candidates to just a few players beyond the 25 that they’ll end up carrying. 28-year-old big-league veteran Brandon Hicks had not appeared to be part of that group, but with the performance that he’s putting together during spring training he may be working his way into the conversation, particularly if second baseman Marco Scutaro ends up on the disabled list for Opening Day.
Hicks, a natural shortstop who is capable of playing every position in the infield, was brought in on a minor-league deal this offseason after spending parts of the 2010 through 2012 seasons in the majors with the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics. He was considered a darkhorse for a big-league roster spot coming into the spring, with Ehire Adrianza and Tony Abreu having a definite edge for the final infielder spot on the bench due to their status as 40-man roster players who are out of options. Hicks is not backing down quietly, however. He’s gone 6-for-14 at the plate, and he had a home run and three RBI which lifted the Giants to victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.
Though Adrianza has had a great spring and seems to be the overwhelming favorite for the job, that doesn’t mean that Hicks won’t find his way onto the roster somehow. Scutaro still has yet to play in a spring game, and while the Giants have maintained that he’s simply on a strengthening program to keep his troublesome back healthy for the regular season, his spring debut has now been pushed back on multiple occasions.
The 38-year-old isn’t in a position where he can just step onto the field and immediately be ready to go all-out, so he’ll need to start playing soon if he wants to be conditioned for Opening Day, which is now just three weeks away. If he needs more time, though, it’s feasible that he could miss at least the first week or two of the season. In that case, there may a roster spot available for Hicks.
While there would be some hassle involved in the situation due to the fact that Hicks needs to be added to the 40-man roster, the advantages probably outweigh the negatives in the situation. If Hicks makes the team, that probably means that Abreu doesn’t, and then the two could easily trade places on the 40-man. And while Adrianza has had success this spring and has plenty of potential, Hicks may be the more practical starter at second should it come down to the two.