SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants released infielder Tony Abreu on Sunday, moving rookie Ehire Adrianza and non-roster invitee Brandon Hicks closer to making the Opening Night roster.
Adrianza's batting only .205, and his spring total of three home runs is an anomaly. He's hit more than three only once in his eight previous professional seasons, when he clubbed six in 2011, three each with Class A Augusta and Class A Advanced San Jose. But his defense at second base and shortstop, his primary position, has ranged from smooth to electrifying. His skills could prove handy for a team that relies on pitching and defense as the Giants do.
Hicks simply has played himself into contention for a big league job. He's batting .421 with a .531 on-base percentage and an .842 slugging percentage. Manager Bruce Bochy did not divulge the nature of a conversation he had with Hicks on Sunday. But Hicks almost certainly will make the team if second baseman Marco Scutaro opens the season on the disabled list, which is looking likelier by the day. Scutaro participated in light baseball-related activities Sunday, though it wasn't known when he might try playing again. Scutaro's lone Cactus League appearance was a three-inning stint against the Angels last Monday.
Bochy dropped no hints regarding how the Giants might handle their final personnel moves.
"It's going to go down to the wire," he said.
The switch-hitting Abreu, who batted .268 in 53 games with the Giants last year, hit .179 in 16 Cactus League games while playing a team-high 60 1/3 innings at second base.
Combined with the demotions of relievers Dan Runzler and George Kontos to Minor League camp, Abreu's departure left the Giants' spring roster at 29, four above the season-opening limit.
Kontos, Runzler sent down as 'pen takes shape
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants virtually finalized the composition of their season-opening bullpen Sunday when they jettisoned left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander George Kontos from their spring roster.
That left five relievers competing for what's likely to be three openings: right-handers J.C. Gutierrez, Jean Machi, Yusmiero Petit and Derek Law, as well as left-hander David Huff. Veterans Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo have clinched spots on the team.
Petit, Huff and Machi appear to have the edge over Gutierrez, a non-roster invitee, and Law, a rookie who yielded two runs in one-third of an inning in Sunday's 13-9 exhibition triumph over Kansas City.
Noticeably peeved when he was demoted last year, Runzler was much calmer this time. He could take solace in his Cactus League performance, which featured a 2.70 ERA and seven strikeouts in seven appearances.
"I'm happy with how I kept my emotions in check," said Runzler, who officially was reassigned to Minor League camp. "This is stuff I can't control."
Kontos, who made 96 appearances for the Giants during the previous two seasons, was optioned to Minor League camp with a 3.00 ERA in seven games.
Machi has been relatively consistent, though the walkoff homer he allowed last Monday against the Angels ballooned his ERA to 6.00. He has four Cactus League saves in five opportunities.
Petit and Huff have been competing for a long-relief role. It now seems more likely that Huff, who looked impressive in three perfect innings last Friday against Oakland, will be used in a variety of roles if he makes the Opening Night squad.
Combined with infielder Tony Abreu's release earlier Sunday, the Giants have 29 players left in camp, four over the season-opening limit.
• Tim Lincecum yielded seven runs and 11 hits -- including three homers -- during his 4 2/3-inning stint in Sunday's exhibition against Kansas City. He finished Cactus League play with a 6.52 ERA, continuing his history of dull spring performances. Lincecum tried to remain upbeat, citing his mechanical flaws and saying, "These are things that I can fix." Lincecum's Cactus League efforts buoyed Bochy, who said, "I really liked, for the most part, where he was with his pitches, and he kept his fastball down." Lincecum also issued only five walks in 19 1/3 innings, an encouraging ratio for him.
• Expected to start in left field Sunday, Michael Morse was limited to a pinch-hitting appearance. Bochy said that Morse, who has been bothered by a balky right calf, will serve as the designated hitter in Monday's exhibition against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe. Bochy indicated that he's trying to preserve the health of the injury-prone Morse as the regular season approaches. "We're so close," Bochy said. "I don't want to risk setting him back."
• Juan Perez appears to have moved ahead of Tyler Colvin in the competition for the fifth outfielder's spot. Perez is batting .315 to Colvin's .160, and he proved capable last year of playing spectacular defense.
• Meanwhile, Gregor Blanco has maintained a stranglehold on the fourth outfielder's spot. Blanco has tripled twice since last Friday, and he scored on his latest three-base hit Sunday when Kansas City second baseman Jason Donald dropped a relay throw.