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. 

Down on the Farm: How Giants prospects performed in Single-A All-Star Games

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Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: How Giants prospects performed in Single-A All-Star Games

The MLB All-Star Game is less than a month away and two Giants -- Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford -- are currently leading their position groups in fan voting to start for the National League. Down on the farm, prospects are already representing their teams in the MidSummer Classic.

In total, eight Giants prospects -- three from the Augusta GreenJackets and five from the San Jose Giants -- participated in All-Star Games on Tuesday night. The five from San Jose represented the North in the California League All-Star Game and the three from Augusta represented the South in the South Atlantic All-Star Game. 

Here's how all eight fared for the Noth and South: 

Augusta GreenJackets, South Atlantic League All-Star Game 

Manuel Geraldo, SS: Geraldo started at shortstop for the South and batted sixth in the lineup. The 21-year-old had a great night going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning, giving the South an 8-3 lead. Geraldo is batting .284 on the year with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases.

John Gavin, LHP: Gavin was the first pitcher out of the bullpen for the South, replacing Joe Cavallaro in the second inning. The San Jose native earned the win, allowing one earned run on three hits in one inning. Selecting in the eighth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Gavin has been dominant this season with a 1.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 12 starts. 

Joey Marciano, LHP: Marciano is the final GreenJacket and second lefty out of the bullpen. He was the fifth pitcher to toe the rubber for the South and tossed a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The 23-year-old is 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season. 

San Jose Giants, California League All-Star Game

Jalen Miller, 2B: Miller started at second base and was No. 2 in the lineup for the North. He went 1-for-5 with a double in an 8-1 win over an eventful weekend. Prior to Tuesday night's game, Miller was in the Home Run Derby and hit eight long balls. In 64 games, Miller is on the rise with seven home runs and a .305 batting average. 

Wander Franco, 3B: Franco's day didn't go quite as smooth as Miller's. He started at third base and batted sixth, but went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The 23-year-old is batting .294 with 22 doubles this season. 

Johneshwy Fargas, CF: Coming off the bench, Fargas was a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs scored for the North. The speedy 23-year-old has 18 stolen bases this year to go with his .266 batting average. 

Logan Webb, RHP: The Rocklin native was the first bullpen arm for the North and earned the hold for the night. Webb threw one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The 21-year-old is 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA over 14 appearances, 13 starts. 

Sandro Cabrera, LHP: Two innings later, it was Cabrera's turn to get on the bump and it couldn't have gone any better. Cabrera pitched one perfect inning and struck out two batters. He has appeared in 14 games this season -- half as a starter, half as a reliever -- and is 6-2 with a 3.49 ERA. 

Giants, Marlins play beanball near end of dramatic season series

Giants, Marlins play beanball near end of dramatic season series

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday morning, in Los Angeles, Evan Longoria had his fractured fifth metacarpal repaired. In the afternoon, in San Francisco, Hunter Strickland had a similar procedure. 

The metacarpal madness did not lead to any excess caution for a team that has dealt with injuries throughout. It was the opposite, in fact. The Giants sprinted headfirst into a beanball war with a team with nothing to lose. That led to a scary moment for Buster Posey, but ultimately the Giants came away unscathed, and with a win. 

Players and coaches predictably shied away from the drama in the moments following a 6-3 win. But manager Bruce Bochy repeatedly praised rookie Dereck Rodriguez for the way he handled himself — he drilled opposing rookie Lewis Brinson — and said this was just part of the game.

“It’s baseball,” Bochy said. “We’re men. This is what happens in baseball.”

The Giants say they were upset over a Dan Straily pitch last week that sent Longoria to the disabled list, and Bochy twice mentioned that Kelby Tomlinson was hit in Monday night’s game. This doesn’t quite hold up under scrutiny. If the Giants wanted to get revenge on behalf of Longoria, they would have hit a Marlin on Monday night. Or they could have waited for Straily’s at-bat in the top of the second inning Tuesday. No, this was about more than a couple of pitches that hit Giants players.

There was never much doubt that the Giants would retaliate against Brinson, and Rodriguez didn’t waste any time. His first pitch to Brinson, with two on and one out in the second, was a 92 mph fastball that drilled his hip. 

“Runners on second and third and less than two outs, you don’t want him to get a sacrifice fly,” Rodriguez said. “I was trying to go in. It got him. It happens.”

Brinson knew it was coming following Monday night’s theatrics. After a 95 mph fastball from Strickland shot up toward his head, he lined the game-tying single into right. Brinson, 24, hopped up and down as he headed toward first and turned and yelled something at Strickland. A few minutes later, Strickland’s night was done, and he walked near third base on his way to the dugout, exchanging words with Brinson. 

Rodriguez’s pitch a day later led to warnings for both sides, but the Marlins are headed for the top of the draft, and they didn’t much seem to care about losing their starting pitcher. Dan Straily drilled Posey on the arm in the bottom of the second and was immediately ejected. Retaliation?

“I don’t know,” Posey said. “I don’t know. It seemed that way.”

Bochy came out raging, and he later said that Marlins manager Don Mattingly had indicated payback was coming.

“I don’t know what happened there when he came out,” Bochy said. “I guess he was upset about the warnings. I guess they thought they have to do something. I guess there was fuzzy math going on when our third baseman is on the DL for eight weeks and we had a guy get hit in the back last night.”

The only math that ultimately mattered was 90 feet. Whether they were upset about Longoria, or about Brinson’s trip around the bases Monday night, the Giants decided to get into it at a time when they can’t afford another injury. The pitch to Posey rode up and in, and was near his hands, where metacarpals are all too easy to break, but he jogged the 90 feet down to first and chatted with Justin Bour. 

That would be it for the drama, but the Giants and Marlins may not be done, no matter what’s said behind closed doors. The visiting starter for the final matchup of the season between these two will be Jose Urena, who hit an MLB-leading 14 batters last year and three Cubs on opening day this year.