Heath Hembree A Surprising Cut As San Francisco Giants Trim Spring Roster To 33


Feb 28, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Heath Hembree (37) throws a wild pitch to that allowed Oakland Athletics outfielder Jack Goebbert (not pictured) to advance and score from third base in the ninth inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports. Athletics win 7-6.

Right-hander Heath Hembree was thought to have a shot at grabbing a job in the San Francisco Giants bullpen coming out of spring training, but he was among seven players reassigned Friday.

Hembree, 25, allowed one run in four spring innings, striking out five. The right-hander made his big-league debut with the Giants last September and did not allow a run in 7.2 innings over nine appearances, posting a 0.783 WHIP and striking out 12. He had 31 saves and a 4.07 ERA and 1.265 WHIP in 55.1 innings (54 appearances) for Triple-A Fresno last season, striking out 63.

He was a fifth-round pick by the Giants out of the University of South Carolina in 2010.

Other cuts on Friday included right-handers Erik Cordier and Jake Dunning, who were optioned to Fresno with Hembree. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz, first baseman Mark Minicozzi and right-handers Brett Bochy and Adam Reifer were sent to the minor-league camp.

Cordier allowed just one hit but walked five in five scoreless innings this spring. He struck out seven. The Giants signed Cordier as a free agent in November. He pitched last season at Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pittsburgh organization, where he had a 4.58 ERA and 1.491 WHIP in 53 innings (44 appearances). He had four saves and struck out 65. He was a second-round pick of the Royals out of Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wis., in 2004 and, at 28, has yet to break into the big leagues.

Dunning allowed one run and six hits with four walks in 6.1 innings this spring, with three strikeouts. The 25-year-old pitched in 29 games for the Giants last season, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.224 WHIP in 25.1 innings, striking out 16. He had a 1.49 ERA and 1.262 WHIP in 34 appearances and 48.1 innings at Fresno, where he struck out 44. He was selected in the 33rd round by the Giants out of Indiana University in 2009.

Bochy allowed a run on two hits with two walks in 4.1 innings this spring, striking out two. The 26-year-old son of manager Bruce Bochy made 45 appearances for Fresno last season, with a 3.99 ERA and 1.189 WHIP in 56.1 innings, striking out 57. He was taken in the 20th round by the Giants in 2010 out of the University of Kansas.

Reifer pitched four innings this spring, giving up a run on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He was signed as a minor-league free agent in December after pitching last season in the Marlins’ organization. He had a 1.32 ERA and 1.073 WHIP in 28 appearances and 41 innings at Triple-A New Orleans last season, striking out 37. He was an 11th-round pick of the Cardinals in 2007 out of UC Riverside.

Quiroz was 3-for-12 this spring with two strikeouts. The 32-year-old played in 43 games for the Giants last season, hitting .186/.237/.302 with seven doubles, a homer and six RBI while striking out 21 times. He has also seen time in the majors with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers, Orioles and Red Sox and re-signed with the Giants as a free agent last November. He hit .294/.506/.353 in 42 at-bats at Fresno l;ast season with eight RBI. He was originally signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela by Toronto in 1998 and made his big league debut in 2004.

Minocozzi battled injuries and spent three years playing in independent leagues before re-signing with the Giants in 2012. The 31-year-old was the darling of camp with his strong hitting early on, but tailed off to .216/.293/.378, going 8-for-37 in 17 spring games. He had two homers and three RBi. Last year at Double-A Richmond, Minicozzi hit .309/.400/.445 in 128 games, with 74 runs, 30 doubles, 10 homers, 66 RBI and 123 strikeouts. He was originally drafted by the Giants in the 17th round in 2005 out of East Carolina University, but was released after Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2008 season.