Giants

Down on the Farm: Giants prospects who shined in Bumgarner's rehab starts

Down on the Farm: Giants prospects who shined in Bumgarner's rehab starts

After missing nearly three months, it looks like Madison Bumgarner is finally ready to make his fifth big league start of the season. The Giants’ ace is scheduled to return to the hill in San Diego on Saturday after making four rehab starts at three different levels. 

While Bumgarner was attracting sellout crowds to mixed results, prospects were trying to make an impression with the front office in attendance. Here is who stood out among Giants minor leaguers in each of Bumgarner’s rehab starts. 

June 25, Arizona Rookie League Giants 

— Well, it can only go up from here. The AZL Giants were without top picks Heliot Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez, who are hitting a combined .441 (30-for-68), and only managed three hits in Bumgarner’s first return to the mound. 

— Aside from Bumgarner, the biggest news was the return of Steven Duggar. In his first game of the season, the Giants’ sixth-round pick from 2015 went 0-for-2. 

June 30, Sacramento River Cats 

— Orlando Calixte jumped at the opportunity with big names in San Francisco’s brass watching. Leading off and playing third base, Calixte went 3-for-5 with a home run in the first inning, a double, two RBI and one run scored. The 25-year-old has now played every position aside from catcher and first base this year and has 10 home runs. 

— Chris Shaw didn’t go deep, but he did finish the game 2-for-5 at the plate, one day after smacking two balls over the wall. This was the third game of an eight-game hitting streak and he’s continued to do all the Giants have hoped for and more this season. 

— At 33 years old, Juan Ciriaco isn’t a name you will hear a lot. He’s one of the veterans still plugging away in the minors, but he did enjoy a 3-for-4 day with two doubles, one RBI and two runs scored with Bumgarner on the bump. 

July 5, San Jose Giants 

— Ryan Howard, who I recently wrote about as a potential next Matt Duffy for the Giants, looked just like that while Bumgarner was shelled in San Jose. Howard roped a RBI double in his first at-bat and finished 2-for-3 in the loss. The shortstop who is known more for his bat, later displayed some impressive glove work in Bumgarner’s final rehab start with San Jose too. 

— San Jose only scored one run on six hits. Aside from Howard, Gio Brusa, a local product from the University of the Pacific, was the only other hitter to have a multi-hit night. Brusa went 2-for-4 with a double of his own and scored one run. 

July 10, San Jose Giants

— Bumgarner’s final rehab start went much better for himself and for the Giants’ Advanced Single-A affiliate, despite a 4-2 loss. At the top of the order and playing center field, Ronnie Jebavy drove in a run in a nice 2-for-4 night. The speedy outfielder was hampered by injuries early, but is now rounding into form and is slashing .285/.318/.390 in 29 games. 

— Jalen Miller, the Giants’ third-round pick in 2015, is having a rough year in San Jose. The middle infielder is only hitting .219, but enjoyed one of his best games in front of a sold out crowd. Miller hit his sixth home run of the season, going deep in back-to-back games, and ended with 2-for-4 showing. 

Giants say they won't include Aubrey Huff in 2010 World Series reunion

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USATSI

Giants say they won't include Aubrey Huff in 2010 World Series reunion

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants do celebrations and nostalgia better than anyone, and quite a bit of time will be devoted this season to looking back at the 2010 team that finally brought a title to San Francisco. But a key member of that team will not be invited to Oracle Park because of tweets he sent this offseason. 

The Giants have told Aubrey Huff, the starting first baseman on that team, that he is not welcome at the ballpark when they celebrate the 2010 championship. 

"Earlier this month, we reached out to Aubrey Huff to let him know that he will not be included in the upcoming 2010 World Series Championship reunion," the organization said Monday in a statement. "Aubrey has made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization. While we appreciate the many contributions that Aubrey made to the 2010 championship season, we stand by our decision."

The Athletic first reported Monday that Huff would not be included, and the 43-year-old told the website that he was "shocked" and "disappointed" by the decision.

"If it wasn't for me, they wouldn't be having a reunion," Huff told The Athletic. "But if they want to stick with their politically correct, progressive b------t, that's fine."

Huff hit .290 with 26 homers for the 2010 Giants and then dropped off over the next two years. He resurfaced years later with a Twitter account that often goes for shock value but crossed the line two notable times in the offseason. Giants officials were particularly taken aback by two tweets. 

In November, Huff tweeted a photo from a gun range with the caption "Getting my boys trained up on how to use a gun in the unlikely event" that Bernie Sanders beats Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In January, he tweeted about taking a flight to Iran to "kidnap about 10" women, writing "bring them back here as they fan us and feed us grapes, amongst other things."

[RELATED: Kapler shares short message to Giants' full spring squad]

Huff has not been around the ballpark much since retiring, but he came back to San Francisco in September for Bruce Bochy's final game, receiving a mixed reaction from the crowd. 

The Giants plan to celebrate the 2010 team on Aug. 16 and give out replica rings to the fans in attendance.

Gabe Kapler shares short message to Giants' spring training full squad

Gabe Kapler shares short message to Giants' spring training full squad

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Gabe Kapler has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he wants the Giants to be more prepared than their opponents, so it seemed likely that he would spend weeks working on the exact speech he would give when the full squad assembled for the first time on February 17.

But the first meeting was not a marathon. There was no dramatic speech, just a quick message from Kapler, one from Farhan Zaidi, some words from a couple of veterans, and then the Giants hit the field and began playing catch. 

"Players on Day 1, the thing they want to do the most is to get out on the field and compete," Kapler said. "So to squeeze everything in to Day 1 for the pageantry maybe doesn't make as much sense as to try to share those messages on a daily basis."

Kapler will have plenty of time to spread his beliefs. During his first day leading the full roster, he simply wanted the players to compete and to get used to some subtle changes. The Giants brought a machine out to throw sliders to hitters after they had taken a couple of rounds of batting practice, giving them a chance to hit breaking balls much sooner than they normally would.

Kapler said he was encouraged by how many players took advantage of the extra opportunity. 

"Those slider machines are not comfortable for players, particularly when they haven't seen a lot of pitches," Kapler said. "So to see the engagement and the buy-in was really cool. Our hitting coaches did a great job of making it a menu option, and then it was even cooler to see our players select the more difficult and challenging practice."

Kapler and the staff had a week to get pitchers and catchers used to some new ways of practicing and the emphasis on competition, but it was a bit different when the position players showed up. The bullpen is basically a wide-open competition and it's unclear who the fifth starter will be along with the backup catcher.

But the starting lineup is a bit more set, with veterans at catcher, first, short and third and roster options like Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence already in place. 

You could say there's far less competition on the position player side, but that's not how the Giants want their players viewing it. Evan Longoria, who played with Kapler in Tampa Bay, said it was good to see how much emphasis is being put on winning jobs this spring. Even the core veterans are being made to feel pushed a bit. 

[RELATED: Giants use umpires during bullpens, ramp up spring intensity]

"There are a lot of jobs open, there's a lot of things that guys are going to be competing for in camp, which is great," Longoria said. "Hopefully we see some of that fire come out, friendly competition or real. It's not really friendly, you know. Guys are playing for their livelihood and it's a job, so I love seeing that competitive nature come out in guys.

"It was good to hear guys stand up and I think it's really good to get those things out there in the open from the beginning."