On Saturday, the San Francisco Giants had perhaps their best opportunity of the spring to see the competition for their final bench spot play out on one stage, as Juan Perez started in left field while Tyler Colvin was the designated hitter, participating in a Cactus League game for the first time since March 4.
It’s safe to say that Saturday saw the stock of those two players go in vastly opposite directions. Perez, who had started the spring hot but had cooled off a bit and was hitting .273 coming into the game, was the catalyst of the Giants’ offense and went 3-for-5, contributing a home run, double and single to the team’s 13-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Perez also had an opportunity to show off his other skills, stealing a base and providing strong defense in left.
Meanwhile, Colvin, a 28-year-old veteran major-leaguer who was brought in as a non-roster invitee to push Perez for a spot, had a rough day. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left four runners on base, though he did get on base once thanks to an error by Mariners outfielder Jabari Blash. Colvin is now 2-for-13 (.154) and it would seem that time is running out for him to prove himself if he wants to overtake the surging Perez.
In addition to showing his value at the plate, Colvin must prove that the sore legs which sidelined him for 11 days will not prevent him from being able to play the field on a regular basis. Particularly on a roster that could include chronically injured infielders Marco Scutaro and Tony Abreu, it’s important that the Giants have a full complement of capable players, and the lack of reliability that Colvin has shown thus far would seem to be an obstacle in his bid to make the team.
It’s possible that the Giants could decide to keep three backup infielders instead of keeping either Perez or Colvin, but because of new left fielder Michael Morse’s slight defensive shortcomings and durability concerns, it would still seem more likely than not that the Giants will carry five outfielders. If this does indeed end up being the case, Saturday was a huge turning point in Colvin and Perez’s position battle. While there are still 13 spring training games in which things could change, Perez has definitely taken advantage of the opportunity and pulled ahead.