Down on the Farm: Now healthy, Steven Duggar joining San Jose Giants


Down on the Farm: Now healthy, Steven Duggar joining San Jose Giants

Madison Bumgarner pitched in his first rehab game to a bunch of terrified teenagers in the Arizona Rookie League on Sunday, making one poor soul sweat tears through his batting gloves and toss his bat into Monday.

While Bumgarner being back on the hill in a game was the biggest news, there was another name to know on the Arizona Rookie League Giants that day. 

One of the Giants’ top prospects, Steven Duggar, joined the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A on Wednesday, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. He went hitless in three at-bats in the Arizona Rookie League while walking twice in his first two games of the season after dealing with a flexor strain in his forearm that kept him out for an extended period, plus hamstring tightness. 

Duggar, a 23-year-old center fielder, is ranked as the Giants’ No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 10 by Baseball America. 

The Giants’ sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Clemson is the franchise’s closest center fielder to the major leagues. Ever since the draft he’s answered the call at every challenge handed to him. 

In 2016, Duggar excelled in San Jose and in Double-A Richmond after earning a promotion. 

Duggar batted .284 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage while hitting nine home runs in 70 games for San Jose. Though his power fell in Richmond’s pitcher’s park to only one more home run, Duggar kept on hitting at Double-A. He slashed .321/.391/.432 with 78 hits in 60 games.

Duggar joined the Giants for his first big-league camp this spring training and impressed at the plate. The switch-hitter went 4-for-12 with a double and two stolen bases in 11 games. He even showed a keen eye at the plate, walking four times to help his .500 on-base percentage. 

San Jose is now the home of the Giants’ top two center field prospects in Duggar and Bryan Reynolds. In his last four games, Reynolds has been on fire at the plate, hitting .500 (10-for-20) with eight RBI. It will be interesting to see how two key pieces to the Giants’ future fit in the same outfield. Duggar played primarily in right field with San Jose last season — 60 games to five in center — but then Richmond penciled him exclusively in center field. Reynolds has played 43 games in center, 11 in right and two in left field this year with San Jose.

If it weren’t for his injuries Duggar sustained in the spring, he most likely would have started off the season in Triple-A Sacramento and could have easily found his way to San Francisco’s revolving door of outfielders. Expect him to join Sacramento’s outfield after not too long in San Jose.

With the front office taking a hard look at their young players, it would be nice to see Duggar earn a September call-up for the Giants as the team continues to evaluate their future options in the outfield. 

Around The Horn 

—  Jae-Gyun Hwang is officially with the Giants. The former star in Korea has an opt-out in his contract on July 1 and the Giants decided it was time to see how his bat transfers to the majors. Hwang hit .287/.333/.476 for Sacramento in 68 games and knocked his seventh and final Triple-A home run in his last game with the team. 

— Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede tossed his best game of the season on Monday night. After coming off a performance in which he allowed seven earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings pitched, Beede went a season-high eight innings where he only allowed two earned runs — off two solo shots — and struck out seven batter to two walks. 

— Giants top catching prospect Aramis Garcia has gone 3-for-7 in San Jose’s last two games. All three hits went over the fence, giving him 11 home runs on the season. 

Bumgarner leaves start after line drive hits pitching hand


Bumgarner leaves start after line drive hits pitching hand

A day after the Giants got good news about their No. 3 starter, their No. 1 left the game with an injury. 

Madison Bumgarner left Friday's spring training game against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning after a Whit Merrifield line drive hit his pitching hand. Bumgarner, who's scheduled to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Mar. 29, was making his final start before the regular season.

He was off to a strong start this spring. In five appearances, Bumgarner posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 19.0 innings pitched. 

The 28-year-old missed nearly three months last season after injuring his left shoulder in a dirtbike accident.

This story is being updated. 

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.