MLB Preview 2011: Handicapping the San Francisco Giants' Left-Field Battle

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MLB Preview 2011: Handicapping the San Francisco Giants' Left-Field Battle
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Major League Baseball's spring training is already under way, and that means it's officially time for the world-champion San Francisco Giants to put away the champagne (or Bud Light), confetti and late-night talk show laurels.

The thong can stay, though (Aubrey Huff's, not the Machine's).

Down in Arizona, the first PFP drills have been run, so you know two things.

First, someone has already embarrassed himself.

Most pitchers aren't Tim Lincecum-type athletes anyway, so asking them to field their position is a dicey proposition. Then you toss in setup men and specialty relievers? Look out, here comes the circus. Although in truth, the Gents have a pretty athletic stable from top to bottom, so maybe it's a muted show.

Second, and more importantly, our long nightmare is over, and BASEBALL is right around the corner.

With all due respect, the NFL is slowly becoming a 20-week episode of Hard Knocks, so part of me is rooting for a work stoppage simply for the peace and quiet. At least the League's tug-o'-war over the fan's last dollar is easy to process and tune out.

Forget both sides in that nonsense—we all know it will end with each pampered posse getting richer while fans foot the bill, so who really cares? Let the greedy SOBs shoot themselves in the feet until they realize it hurts.

Like baseball did.

As for the NBA, well, it's heading into the stretch run, and teams are starting to play hard every night, so I've got no beef with the Association at the moment. Nevertheless, all the coasting up to this point still leaves a sour note in the air.

C'mon, I can't get 82 games at full throttle for $4 mil a year?

Consequently, it's the pearl to the rescue.

Before that can happen, however, the exhibition season must play out, and each team must answer a few lingering questions. In the Giants' neck of the woods, there's only one major unknown, and it looms over left field.

It's a pretty big one—as in, who will play there?

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