Giants

Farhan Zaidi reacts to Giants prospect Logan Webb's PED suspension

Farhan Zaidi reacts to Giants prospect Logan Webb's PED suspension

In a season where the Giants are in last place of the NL West through the first month of year and the team's top two prospects are already on the injured list, Wednesday's news was another punch to the gut. 

Logan Webb, the Giants' No. 2 pitching prospect, was suspended 80 games after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance. 

"He's a really good kid," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Wednesday night on KNBR. "It's obviously disappointing to see." 

Webb declared his innocence through a statement, saying he doesn't know how the PED entered his system. 

"For the past month and a half I have tried endlessly to find the answer to why the M4 metabolite was found in my urine sample. I have done research, I have talked to people who know a lot more about it than I do, and I have sent in an endless amount of supplements and products for testing that I have used over the past couple years," Webb said. "Unfortunately, none of those things have helped me find that answer, and the time for me to find the reason that this has happened has run out. I know in my heart that something someday will be put into the world to prove my innocence. 

"That being said, I do not disagree with MLB’s policy, and respect the drug testing system that has been put in place. I love this game and respect it too much to ever cheat it. I am heartbroken over this and I am not sure why this is happening to me, but in life some things happen for a reason and it is my job now to find that reason."

Zaidi says Webb was genuine in his stance on the situation when they spoke, and further detailed the testing process. 

"You just don't know what happens with some of these guys -- you don't know what goes into their bodies at certain periods of times," Zaidi said. "Speaking to him and his representation, they genuinely don't know how it happened. My concern with that is we just want to make sure it doesn't happen even if they believe it was something that was without malicious intent or trying to cheat."

As far as Webb's production on the field, the Giants couldn't be happier with the 22-year-old. The right-hander from Rocklin has really impressed the last two seasons. He had a 1.82 ERA over 21 appearances in High-A with the San Jose Giants last year before earning a promotion to Double-A Richmond for his final six starts. 

Through five starts in Double-A this season, he's been nothing short of phenomenal. Webb is 1-2 with a 2.00 ERA and has 31 strikeouts over 27 innings for the Flying Squirrels.

While he won't be with his Richmond teammates for quite some time, the Giants are making sure Webb still gets his work in. 

"As far as development goes, he's gonna go back to Arizona," Zaidi said. "He's allowed to continue to work out at our facility. We are allowed to have him pitch in extended spring training games, which is really nice. He'll be able to stay game ready even before the suspension is over." 

Once his suspension ends, Zaidi and the Giants still have big plans for the former fourth-round draft pick this season. 

[RELATED: How Logan Webb shot up Giants' prospect rankings]

"He'll miss time but he'll at least be able to stay in pitching shape and continue to pitch competitively in games," Zaidi said. "We're hoping that he still has a chance to work his way up to Triple-A by the end of the season."

All Webb and the Giants can do at this point is move forward and get back to work. He's made leaps and bounds the last two seasons on the mound, and that can't stop now. 

Why Giants' Gabe Kapler pulled Kevin Gausman after 80 pitches vs. Dodgers

Why Giants' Gabe Kapler pulled Kevin Gausman after 80 pitches vs. Dodgers

The Giants coaching staff spent weeks preparing for the opening series against the Dodgers, and while some of the pitching decisions looked strange at the time, there's no doubt that overall they worked. The Giants came out with a split, a great result for any team that visits Dodger Stadium these days. 

The second time through called for a bit more spontaneity, coming in the middle of a tough three-city trip. For the second straight night, a decision made when a starting pitcher was nearing the end of his leash backfired. This time it cost the Giants the game and a chance at a series win. 

On Saturday night, Johnny Cueto was allowed to extend to 93 pitches, but a three-run homer on his last one nearly proved costly. A day later, Kevin Gausman was pulled after just 80 pitches, and he watched from the dugout as Tyler Rogers gave up a three-run homer, blowing the lead in a game the Giants would go on to lose 6-2. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Gausman had an outstanding fastball going on an 82-degree afternoon, averaging 97 mph for the first time in four years and hitting 99 mph several times. His final pitch was his hardest of the day, a 99.3 mph heater that Cody Bellinger redirected into center field for a one-out single. Kapler came out and held up his right hand as he got to the mound. 

"I think it was just a hot day, seventh time up, third time through the toughest part of the order," Kapler said of the decision. "He had done a tremendous job. He had carried his stuff into that inning, he had carried his location into that inning, and it just felt like the right time to keep him healthy and strong and safe all the way through the season based on getting into the seventh for the first time. 

"At the same time we had a reliever ready who we felt confident could get us a groundball with a runner on first base and get us out of that inning."

Rogers gave up a single to Justin Turner and then struck out Max Muncy. He was on the verge of getting out of the inning, but he grooved a 3-2 curveball to A.J. Pollock and it sailed into the empty bleachers in left. 

Rogers had pitched two strong innings the night before, and the Giants feel he's someone who can bounce back. But the Dodgers were seeing Rogers for the fifth time in 17 days. Pollock had faced him a night earlier and flown out on a curveball. 

[RELATED: What you might've missed as Giants blow lead vs. Dodgers]

Kapler disagreed with the notion that the novelty had worn off when it came to the submariner. 

"I think it's not just novelty with Rog, it's the ability to throw strikes with two pitches that are unusual. It's an unusual look. He can attack the strike zone with those two pitches and they're actually just flat-out good pitches," Kapler said. "Pollock made a nice adjustment, got to two strikes and two outs, and he was able to elevate the ball."

The blast cost Gausman a win on a day when he became the first Giants starter to record a quality start this season. Gausman gave up just three hits in 6 1/3 innings and struck out six. He made a sour face as he came off the field and threw his gum, and said later that he would have liked an opportunity to finish the seventh. 

"I definitely felt like I had more in the tank. My limit is not 80 pitches, but Kap's job is to make those decisions. That's his job description," Gausman said. "I'm not the one that's calling down to the bullpen and getting guys loose, that type of thing. Obviously I thought I pitched well enough to warrant getting a couple more guys out, but we're trying to win the series and it's a hot day. Maybe those were factors in his decision."

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers

BOX SCORE

Kevin Gausman had the best start of the year by a Giant, and one of the most dominant we've seen from any starter early on this season. But it wasn't enough for the Giants, who dropped a heartbreaker in the late innings and lost a series at Dodger Stadium.

Gausman was sitting in the upper 90s all afternoon but was pulled after just 80 pitches. He watched as Tyler Rogers gave up a three-run homer to A.J. Pollock and the Los Angeles Dodgers got another blast later from Mookie Betts, walking away with a 6-2 win. 

The Giants fell to 2-5 on this road trip with three games coming up against the Astros. Here are three things to know from one that truly hurt ... 

Made of quality

The bar to clear for a quality start -- six innings, three earned runs -- is not a high one, but the Giants had not had one through 16 games, which is pretty remarkable. Gausman sailed past that mark in his fourth appearance as a Giant, but took a brutal no-decision. The right-hander left with a 2-0 lead and a runner on first in the seventh. A few minutes later, the Giants trailed. 

What was so notable about Gausman is how he did it. He was throwing gas, hitting 99 mph three times -- including 99.3 on his final pitch -- and averaging 97 with his four-seamer. That was his best average fastball since 2016. The final pitch was his hardest since June 9, 2018.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Maybe pump the brakes a little?

Rogers had a huge spring and was just as sharp in the second camp, but manager Gabe Kapler might be playing that card a bit too often. To be fair, Kapler doesn't have a lot of great bullpen options, but Rogers' appearance Sunday was his fifth against the Dodgers in 17 days, and even pitching two innings in Saturday's win.

At some point, that submarine delivery isn't as much of a surprise, and Pollock swung the score with a three-run shot on a hanging curveball. One pitch earlier, Pollock had walked a few steps toward first, thinking he had walked on an inside pitch. 

[RELATED: MadBum struggles again while Gausman shines for Giants]

Not slowing down

Mike Yastrzemski provided the offense, driving a two-run single into center off former Vanderbilt teammate Walker Buehler. Yastrzemski is eighth in the NL with 12 RBI, and one of the players he trails is a teammate, Donovan Solano (14).

Solano extended his hitting streak with a two-out single in the eighth inning. This was not a barrel for Donnie Barrels. He hit a slow roller to third with a launch angle of negative 46 degrees, exit velocity of 55 mph and hit probability of 17 percent, but it died on the grass and Solano easily beat Justin Turner's throw to first. 

The 14-game hitting streak is the longest by a Giant since Angel Pagan went 19 games in 2016. 

Those were the only two hits of the day for the Giants.