Giants

After moving McCutchen and Pence, Giants looking at veteran center fielders

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USATSI

After moving McCutchen and Pence, Giants looking at veteran center fielders

SAN FRANCISCO — Steven Duggar never played for the 2017 Giants, but that 98-loss team still might have an impact on where Duggar starts the 2018 season. 

The front office learned a harsh lesson after leaving left field to young, unproven players. With the hole now sitting in center, Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans are eager to add a veteran, despite the fact that they think very highly of Duggar. They do not want a repeat of 2017, when they felt comfortable with Jarrett Parker at the end of the offseason, only to watch him get injured and the position turn into a rotation of failure. 

“We think Duggar is pretty much ready, but we’d love to give him a little more time at the minor league level, although I think he’s going to make a push to make this club,” Evans said. “This is a time of year when you would rather have Duggar in your back pocket and bring in a center fielder that allows us to have more time.”

The Giants already have one option in-house, and on the same conference call that Evans spoke, manager Bruce Bochy went out of his way to mention Gorkys Hernandez. “He really, the second half, was a pretty good player. Sometimes we forget about him,” Bochy said. Other options are being considered, though. 

The Giants have never been keen on giving up two high draft picks and $1 million in international money to sign 31-year-old Lorenzo Cain to a monster deal, but guys like Jarrod Dyson, Jon Jay, Austin Jackson and Cameron Maybin are still on the market. Per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the order of preference in the front office is Dyson, Jay and then Maybin. 

All would provide a defensive upgrade over Denard Span, but the Giants need to decide how many on that list would be worth a financial commitment beyond the pre-arbitration salary the team already owes Hernandez, who hit .281 after the All-Star break and played solid defense in center. Dyson would for sure, but he was said to be seeking a two-year deal earlier in the offseason for a salary that would vault the Giants right over the luxury tax line. 

If they’re patient, it’s possible the Giants find that one of the others is sitting around in mid-February and willing to accept a cheap non-guaranteed deal, with the likelihood of winning the job in Scottsdale. That would be the best financial fit for a club that appears to be about $3-4 million from hitting the tax line for a fourth consecutive year. While Evans said being under is not a mandate, he did mention it as a target. Sabean went a bit further in his remarks. 

“Against our payroll,” he said, “We’re mindful of what we’re going to do.”

A cheap option, whether it’s Hernandez or a veteran free agent, could allow the Giants to try and find one more arm for the bullpen. In this extremely slow market, a few options remain. 

Such a plan would also allow for Duggar, still just 24, to move quickly. Injuries kept him from reaching the big leagues last year, but he got a cameo in Triple-A and then impressed in the Arizona Fall League. Talent evaluators credit Duggar for his center field defense and discipline at the plate, and Sabean is said to be a huge fan. 

If he lives up to the hype, Duggar won’t be in the back pocket for long, no matter what else the Giants do before pitchers and catchers report. 

Home run trend continues as Tyler Beede has another rough night

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USATSI

Home run trend continues as Tyler Beede has another rough night

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's always a good time when Madison Bumgarner pinch-hits, and there was a bit of added flavor Tuesday. After Bumgarner drew a walk from Cole Hamels, Logan Webb entered to run for the staff ace. 

It was an interesting moment, but one Bruce Bochy didn't want to see so early in the first game at Wrigley Field. Bumgarner was hitting because Tyler Beede had thrown 91 pitches in four innings and was done for the night. 

In a game the Giants would go on to lose 5-3, Beede gave up three solo homers to the Cubs in his four innings. He has allowed 11 homers over his last six starts, giving up 25 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings. 

"It's execution of pitches, the pitch quality, making mistakes. That's the key to pitching," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters when asked about the home run issue. "Sometimes it gets away from you and it gets over the heart of the plate. That's what happens to him. He's making great pitches at times and then makes that mistake. He's just not getting away with them. Those are good hitters, they're going to take advantage of them. That's the hump he's got to get over, is being consistent on every pitch."

The first homer Beede allowed Tuesday was a prime example of the recent trend of mistakes. It was a fastball that was located, well, just take a look:

That one was hit out by Nicholas Castellanos. The next two were off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, and while they weren't as dead-center as the first one, they were both mistake pitches. Rizzo hit a fastball that was down and in but in his sweet spot, then blasted a changeup two innings later. 

“I don’t want to continue to feel like if I make a mistake, it’s going to leave the yard," Beede told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "But it seems to be the way things are going as of right now.”

The staff discussed Beede's rotation spot after his last rough start, but when the Giants got to Phoenix a day later, Bochy announced that Beede would face the Cubs. The team was in a tough spot with the rotation, but there's a bit more breathing room if the Giants again want to discuss giving Beede a chance to step back.

Shaun Anderson made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday and should be ready to return if needed. On a longer timeframe, Johnny Cueto is also lined up to slide into the rotation spot. Cueto made a second rehab appearance for the San Jose Giants on Tuesday and now will make two starts for the River Cats. 

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Abiatal Avelino starts at shortstop vs. Cole Hamels

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AP

Giants vs. Cubs lineups: Abiatal Avelino starts at shortstop vs. Cole Hamels

Shortstop Brandon Crawford has played 114 of the Giants' 125 games this season. On Tuesday, he's taking the day off. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is using right-handed bat Abiatal Avelino against Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels. Crawford is batting just .173 in August and certainly could use a breather. 

Avelino, on the other hand, has hit .285 with 12 home runs in Triple-A for the Sacramento River Cats. The 24-year-old also has stolen 15 bases this season. 

Bochy is wheeling out a right-handed heavy lineup against Hamels, with just two lefties in the order -- Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Belt. 

[RELATED: Yaz starring for Giants after getting big league chance]

Here are the full lineups for Tuesday's game. You can follow the action on NBC Sports Bay Area or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT with first pitch at 5:05.

San Francisco Giants (63-62)
Donovan Solano, 2B
Mike Yastrzemski, LF
Buster Posey, C
Evan Longoria, 3B
Kevin Pillar, CF
Austin Slater, RF
Brandon Belt, 1B
Abiatal Avelino, SS
Tyler Beede, RHP (3-7, 5.77)

Chicago Cubs (66-58)
Jason Heyward, CF
Nic Castellanos, RF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Javier Baez, SS
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Tony Kemp, 2B
Cole Hamels, LHP (6-4, 3.69 ERA)