Spring training for the Giants has largely been uneventful, and that's the way manager Bruce Bochy likes it. There has been no drama, and almost everything has progressed smoothly.
When the biggest news of the spring surrounds a one-week visit by Barry Bonds as a guest batting instructor, you know the scribes are hungry for stories.
Pablo Sandoval lost roughly 30 pounds this winter according to Henry Schulman of SFGate. His improved physical condition should help his bat speed. A big difference will be his improved quickness on defense.
Sandoval's improved physical condition should also help him avoid the nagging injuries that hampered his legs when he carried the extra weight.
Sandoval's contract expires at the end of the season, so look for him to have a big year in order to try to get a lucrative deal. If he gets that big deal, only time will tell if he reverts back to his bad habits and his out-of-control weight issues return..
The starting pitching staff is set and has looked very good overall. Opening Day starter Madison Bumgarner has not allowed a run in 17 innings. Matt Cain has thrown the ball well, and so has Tim Hudson.
Hudson also brings a wealth of experience to his new home in San Francisco.
Tim Lincecum is coming off two poor seasons. His velocity has dropped, so he must learn how to get opposing hitters out by getting them to hit his pitches.
In recent years, Lincecum's pitch count has soared early in games, as he was always going for the strike out. If he can get batters out earlier in the count and save pitches, he will be able to pitch deeper into games.
The only starting pitcher to struggle has been Ryan Vogelsong. Opposing batters are hitting .362 off him, and in 15 innings, he has allowed 15 earned runs. The Giants will need a much better performance from Vogelsong, once the season gets underway.
Buster Posey reported to camp in great shape according to Alex Pavlovic of The Mercury News. He tailed off badly in the second half of the season, so hopefully the added strength and fitness will keep him stronger over the course of the year.
Marco Scutaro's ailing back has not allowed him to play very much at all. It looks like he will open the season on the DL according to Schulman. Joaquin Arias would likely start at second base.
The other backup infield job was a battle between Tony Abreu, Ehire Adrianza and Brandon Hicks. This has been a merry-go-round. Abreu was hitting only .179 and the Giants recently cut him.
Adrianza is the best defensive player, but he has not hit. Adrianza is hitting only .205, and is a career .248 hitter in eight minor league seasons.
Adrianza is out of minor league options, so if he does not make the Opening Day roster, he could be claimed by another team prior to being sent to the minors. He is only 24 years old, which also factors into his upside potential.
Hicks has hit the ball with authority. His batting average is .421, and his OPS is 1.373. Of his 16 hits this spring, 10 are for extra bases, including three home runs.
Hicks is likely to have earned a spot on the roster, but the final cuts have not yet been decided. At this point, one extra roster spot could open up for him or Adrianza if Scutaro opens the season on the DL.
Young reliever Heath Hembree, who I originally had making the roster, was sent down.
Other young players made favorable impressions, although they will most likely open the season in the minors. Those players include pitchers Edwin Escobar, Kyle Crick and Erik Cordier. Young third baseman Chris Dominguez also impressed with a .385 batting average and a .855 OPS.
Reliever Derek Law came out of nowhere and has a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster. Law has never pitched above the High-A level, but he throws strikes and continues to excel.
In his last stint in the minors with San Jose, Law struck out 45 and walked only one in 25.2 innings of work. His ERA was 2.10, and his WHIP was 0.818.
Law features a quirky delivery in which he turns his back completely to the hitter, much like Gene Garber or Luis Tiant of years past. His pitches are hard to pick up, and when opposing hitters see him for only one at-bat, he is very tough to hit.
One of the other feel-good stories of the spring is Mark Minicozzi. At the age of 31, the journeyman player got off to a hot start this spring. After toiling in relative obscurity in various minor league towns for the past nine years, Minicozzi hit two early home runs this spring.
He tailed off as the spring progressed, but he did well enough to earn a spot in Fresno, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate.
If Minicozzi plays well and something happens to Brandon Belt, Minicozzi has a chance to be called up and make his big league debut after countless bus rides to obscure towns along the minor league circuit.
The Giants got a lot of good work in this spring and seem poised for a solid 2014 season.