Giants call up hard-throwing right-hander Reyes Moronta

Giants call up hard-throwing right-hander Reyes Moronta

NEW YORK -- Three years ago, facing a roster crunch and playing in New York, the Giants called up Jarrett Parker and little-known Matt Duffy from nearby Double-A Richmond. They took advantage of that short flight again Wednesday, adding right-hander Reyes Moronta a day after Mark Melancon was put on the DL. 

Moronta was the only 40-man pitcher at Double-A, and he's likely just here for a day. But Bruce Bochy smiled and conceded that sometimes the player has other plans. Duffy certainly did. He never went back down, and with a fastball that tickles triple digits and a big-league caliber slider, Moronta has the stuff to make a big impression. 

Moronta, 24, had 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings for the Flying Squirrels. He struck out 93 in San Jose last year in just 59 innings. 

"He looks like (Jean) Machi a little bit and he has a similar fastball, with a little different angle," Bochy said. "He's a very intense guy. That's the report on him. Sometimes you've got to get him to back off a little. He's definitely a guy we think a lot of. That's why he's on the roster, and that's why he's here."

Moronta got the news after his game last night and flew in this morning. He said this means a lot to him, and he was the first Giant to put on his full uniform Wednesday morning. 

"He's excited," Bochy said. "He's a good kid."

--- Brandon Crawford will get to Citi Field today and fly home with the team. He is expected to start tomorrow night at home, although he has to be checked by trainers one last time. Denard Span played five innings for San Jose last night and felt fine. He'll play seven today.

--- With Posey at first today, Bochy opted against the Brandon Belt in left plan. Belt is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. He has 25 walks, fourth in the NL, but he's also up to 41 strikeouts. 

"Brandon, over his career, he's one of those guys who can be streaky," Bochy said. "He'll tell you his homers come in bunches. Whenever he gets in one of these funks he's usually a little late (on the fastball). Whether it's his setup or getting the front foot down, however you want to say it, that's his adjustment. He is a guy who will walk a lot. He's patient, he's a guy who walks a lot by letting the ball travel and seeing it more. There's a fine line there between catching it out front and letting it travel."

The bottom line: Belt is working deep counts pretty much every plate appearance, but when pitchers get two strikes on him they feel way too comfortable just throwing a heater past his bat, even if they don't have a good fastball. Bochy has in the past given Belt two or three days to clear his head and mechanics when he's slumping like this. He said that's probably not the case this time. Belt is expected back tomorrow. 

Giants' new catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes


Giants' new catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes

Death, taxes, and Giants transactions.

That appears to be the theme of the week.

A few transactions were made on Saturday and on Sunday morning, the Giants acquired veteran Erik Kratz in a trade for minor league infielder, C.J. Hinojosa.

But this isn't an article about moves being made, or trades being implemented. This is about the 38-year-old catcher who leaves a presence behind with anyone he meets -- and he's met a lot of people.

Kratz coming to the Giants means this will be the eighth big-league team he will roster for and, in total, 11 organizations -- er, 12 now. 

Last season, during his time with the Brewers, he became the oldest position player to make his first postseason start since Lave Cross did in 1905.  

And how did he do during that debut? Well:

During Game 2 of the National League Division Series, he hit a two-run, eighth-inning single that gave the Brewers a 2-0 advantage in the eventual 4-0 win over the Rockies. And he was beyond thankful for the opportunity as he told's Adam McCalvy last year.

"If you told me 16 years ago that I'd be here today I wouldn't have changed the path that I took," Kratz said. "I never gave up. I've been blessed every day to be in this situation."

His friends had surprised him during the postseason -- and each one of them sported one of his jerseys from each of the teams he played on. And when he was asked about what they would think about seeing him on the big stage, they would probably ask about his "nasty facial hair" and say he "looks fat on TV."

I spoke to Robert Murray who is the Brewers' beat writer for The Athletic. Through the phone, you could hear his excitement at the opportunity to talk all things Kratz.

"This is right up my alley," he told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I love Kratz."

Then Murray told me a story about him. One that made Murray a little sad Kratz would no longer sport a Milwaukee uniform.

"I had asked Josh Fields if he knew anyone in the Brewers' clubhouse besides Yasmani Grandal when I heard Kratz say in the background, 'Robert, that's a stupid question." After the interview, I asked him what made the question stupid when he replied, 'You should know by now that basically everybody in baseball has played baseball with Erik Kratz." Even in the toughest of situations, knowing on Feb. 1, that he wouldn't make the Brewers, he was a true professional and kept a strong sense of humor."

Murray said that is what he will remember about Kratz.

Don't worry, I didn't rub it in his face too much the Giants had gained a great human, but I will say it got me excited to see what he can add to that team, to that clubhouse, to that organization.

For those of you who say, "I don't care, give me his stats." This isn't one of those articles.

You know where to find his numbers. 

Giants acquire veteran catcher Erik Kratz in trade with Brewers


Giants acquire veteran catcher Erik Kratz in trade with Brewers

SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after they made a seemingly endless series of transactions, the Giants got going with an early morning trade. 

Catcher Erik Kratz was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers, with minor league infielder C.J. Hinojosa headed the other way. The deal was made a day after the Giants released Rene Rivera, a similar veteran who appeared in line for an Opening Day job. 

When Rivera was let go, Aramis Garcia looked to be in line for the backup job. But Kratz is a right-handed-hitting veteran who is out of options, so the Giants may keep him instead. Kratz, 38, will be playing for his eighth big league team. He hit .236 for the Brewers last year with six homers and six doubles in 203 at-bats. 

Kratz was a surprise contributor in the postseason, hitting .292 in 26 plate appearances. He is known for doing good work defensively and is a strong clubhouse presence. 

It's unclear why the Giants elected to go with Kratz over Rivera, who worked with their pitchers all camp. Or why they may be shying away from sticking with Garcia, who had a good spring and also knows the pitching staff well. Those questions will be answered in the next four days, and the Giants figure to make many more moves before the dust settles. 

[RELATED: Giants trade Matt Joyce after three days with team]

Hinojosa was once viewed as a future utility man at the big league level, but he was suspended 50 games last season for a positive test for a drug of abuse. When he returned, he posted a .689 OPS. 

To clear a 40-man spot for Kratz, the Giants DFA'd pitcher Jose Lopez, acquired at the start of the spring from the Reds.