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Former first-rounder Beede embraces latest shot for Giants

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Tyler Beede was drafted 14th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft, joining a franchise that months later would win a third title in five years. The Giants viewed the first-rounder as a crucial bridge, someone who was polished enough at Vanderbilt that ideally, he could rise up quickly to the big leagues and join the stars of those championship teams in search of additional rings.

By the time Beede did get to the big leagues, though, everything had changed.

Beede made his debut 10 games into the 2018 season, pitching for a team that was coming off 97 losses. He made two starts that season and then 22 in 2019 as the Giants went 77-85 and finished 29 games out of first.

Two years later, Beede has returned, and once again, everything has changed. The Giants no longer have the luxury of letting young starters take their lumps and learn at the big league level. Whenever Beede pitches this season, the stakes will be high. It's something he thought about this week when the Giants recalled him from Triple-A, officially ending his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

"I definitely wasn't insensitive to that when they were making their decision to bring me up. It's obviously a first place team and every guy who comes up and pitches, they're high-leverage situations," he said Wednesday. "There isn't a role where you go out and get your feet wet and learn from an adverse outing. I know that they put thought into that and they're confident, as well as I am, in my ability to contribute to a first place team and be a guy they can rely on whether it's in the bullpen or as a starter. It's exciting."

 

The Giants have been coy about Beede's exact role. They are down a starter with Sammy Long on the IL, and both Beede and Logan Webb were brought to Oracle Park on Tuesday. Manager Gabe Kapler has said both could see a lot of action Friday, Long's normal turn, with Webb officially getting the start.

Beede was available out of the bullpen Tuesday and Wednesday, and as he talked about the different roles, he was all smiles.

It has been a long road back to the big leagues for Beede, who last pitched for the Giants on Sept. 26, 2019. He struck out seven of the 11 hitters he faced that day but an oblique injury ended his season a few innings early. The next spring, Beede was headed for a rotation spot when his elbow flared up, leading to Tommy John surgery. Beede said the year off put things in perspective as he prepared to return to Oracle Park.

"I'm just grateful to be back," he said. "To feel healthy, to feel strong, and to be back at this level."

Beede sailed through the rehab process, which took place entirely during a pandemic, but his first couple of months back in games have been rocky. His velocity returned right away, but it can often take pitchers a while to get their pre-surgery command back and that has been the case with Beede. In 35 2/3 innings at Triple-A, he walked 32 batters.

"It takes time to shake the rust off and I think a good amount of it is just trusting myself to get that feel back. It's in there," he said. "I'm certainly not happy with the results but it's part of the process of coming back. I'm certainly better than those numbers show. I have the ability to throw strikes and get guys out and be efficient. I'm excited to put that on display more than I have in the minor leagues."

The Giants are betting that jumping up a level will help. The league the River Cats play in is extremely harsh for pitchers, and Kapler said the hope is that a return to a big league mound knocks off some of that rust.

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"We feel like this extra adrenaline may help his focus and that gives him a chance to find that control, and as his control improves we also think his command has a chance to improve," Kapler said.

The first step is to get Beede back in the strike zone more consistently and then he can focus on command, on hitting corners and letting his stuff take over. The good news is that there are no questions about the repertoire he's bringing back, and if Beede can harness it he should provide a boost. The Giants don't have much starting depth, and they also could use another power right-hander in the bullpen. If Beede gets right, he can help in multiple ways.

 

"I'm certainly confident in my stuff," he said. "I'm just glad that it's back to where it was before. It feels like it's a little bit better. It's just about consistency and I'm confident in my abilities, confident in my stuff, and I know they are as well. I'm excited to just continue to work, to learn and grow and to iron things out and to be a guy they can rely on throughout the rest of the season."

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