Giants

Giants expect healthy Pablo Sandoval, Tony Watson with season coming

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Giants expect healthy Pablo Sandoval, Tony Watson with season coming

After more than three months of waiting, the MLB Players Association finally tweeted out the good news Tuesday evening. 

"All remaining issues have been resolved and the Players are reporting to training camps," the union said. 

You can forgive them for the lack of an exclamation point. This has been a long, nasty process, but on Tuesday players got the news they've been waiting for. The Giants will return to Oracle Park on July 1 for the start of Spring Training 2.0 -- Summer Training? -- with Opening Day set for July 23 or 24.

Ironically, the roster is in better shape than it was in mid-March, at which point the Giants had already spent a month preparing for the season. Players have been working out in preparation for this day, and some injured players have had months to heal, including potential closer Tony Watson, who might have missed the start of the original year with shoulder tightness. 

"Watty is feeling much better. He might need a tiny bit more time to ramp up once we start camp but he's doing good, feeling better than when we broke camp," manager Gabe Kapler told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Tyler Anderson is going to be good to go. Pablo Sandoval is going to be ready to play third base. Aramis Garcia could be ready as early as mid to late August. Moronta could be ready for us in late August or early in September."

[RELATED: MLB power rankings - Where Giants stand before restart]

Sandoval was far ahead in his rehab from Tommy John surgery this spring, but the Giants originally thought he would need until about May 1 to be ready to play the field and join the roster. He now can potentially platoon with Evan Longoria at third base. Anderson (knee) was supposed to be out for half the year but now will join a pitching staff that likely will not have a set five-man rotation and instead will rely partially on creative methods to fill innings. Garcia had hip surgery in the spring and Moronta had shoulder surgery last year. Both were originally expected to miss most of the 2020 season. 

All the players will report to Oracle Park, where the Giants have spent recent weeks figuring out ways to spread players out. It's likely that some drills will take place in concourses, and team executives have explored the idea of building batting cages out there since fans won't be attending games. They also plan to spread players out to both the home and visiting clubhouses.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Giants takeaways: What you might've missed in 8-7 loss to surging A's

Giants takeaways: What you might've missed in 8-7 loss to surging A's

BOX SCORE

There are bad losses, there are horrible losses ... and then there's what the Giants did Friday night.

The first night of the Battle of the Bay looked like a blowout for the home team, but the Giants lost 8-7 to the A's in extras after blowing a 7-2 lead in extras. It was every bit as excruciating as that sentence makes it sound.

The Giants blew that five-run lead in the top of the ninth with their closer on the mound. Trevor Gott was in trouble throughout the inning and gave up a game-tying grand slam to Stephen Piscotty with one out. The slam was the A's third of the season in the ninth inning or later. The other 29 MLB teams have combined for zero.

San Francisco had the winning run on third with two down in the ninth, but Pablo Sandoval, who is batting just .159, grounded out. The Giants then proceeded to give up the go-ahead run in the 10th on a sacrifice fly, and when it was their turn to get a free runner on second, three consecutive hitters struck out.

Man, it was bad. Would you like to read more about it?! Here are three takeaways.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Epic Meltdown

With a five-run lead heading into the ninth, Gabe Kapler took the opportunity to get some work for Gott, his closer who had pitched just twice in the last nine days. Gott's command was off from the start, and he gave up a one-out homer to Matt Olson before walking Mark Canha. That's when Wilmer Flores made an inexplicable decision.

On a grounder to first, Flores took a step toward the bag and then spun and threw to second, where Brandon Crawford lifted his foot prematurely. Instead of getting the easy out at first, Flores for some reason went for the lead runner, and both A's ended up being safe. After a hit-by-pitch, Gott gave up a game-tying grand slam to Piscotty.

The A's put the go-ahead runner on third but Tyler Rogers struck out a pair.

Johnny Be Good

Cueto was close to a dominant start in Los Angeles over the weekend, but a homer from his final hitter ruined his line. This time around, Cueto did get the job done all the way through.

He went seven innings, the most by a Giants starter this season, and allowed just two earned runs on three hits. Cueto struck out five and threw 104 pitches, his most since Sept. 19, 2017.

[RELATED: Giants given relatively good news with Slater's MRI results]

Luzardo hit hard

The Giants had no issues with A's left-hander Jesús Luzardo, one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Longoria hit a solo shot and Pence made it 4-0 in the third with a three-run shot to dead center.

Luzardo was pulled with one out in the fourth after Longoria's two-run single to left.

The Giants hit six balls at least 100 mph off Luzardo, including Pence's second three-run blast of the week, which left the park at 105.9 mph. This lineup continues to be pretty good against left-handed pitching.

Giants prospects could benefit from reported MLB player pool expansion

Giants prospects could benefit from reported MLB player pool expansion

While roughly 30 Giants minor leaguers train in Sacramento, some notable names were left off the 60-man player pool by the team.

Those prospects might be summoned to Sutter Health Park soon, though.

Baseball America reported Friday, citing sources, that MLB is considering allowing teams to add 15 players to their player pool. According to the report, some teams are struggling to play intrasquad games due to lack of position players.

This could be good news for Giants prospects like Sean Hjelle, Seth Corry, Tristan Beck, Luis Matos and others.

Twitter user @giantsprospects speculated which 15 players the Giants might want to add to the group in Sacramento.

Based on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospect ranking for the Giants, here's where those prospects fall on the list.

Seth Corry -- No. 5
Luis Matos -- No. 9
Sean Hjelle -- No. 10
Tristan Beck -- No. 19
Gregory Santos -- No. 17
Melvin Adon -- No. 24
Jairo Pomares -- No. 14
Blake Rivera -- No. 16
Kai-Wei Teng -- No. 22
Trevor McDonald -- N/A
Ricardo Genoves -- N/A
Rayner Santana -- N/A
Aeverson Arteaga -- No. 21
Kyle Harrison -- No. 12
Casey Schmitt -- No. 23

This list isn't official -- it's just a guess -- but if the Giants added those 15 players, it would mean a good portion of their top 30 prospects would be in Sacramento getting much-needed development time.

No. 1 prospect Joey Bart, No. 2 Marco Luciano, No. 3 Heliot Ramos, No. 4 Hunter Bishop, No. 6 Patrick Bailey, No. 7 Alexander Canario, No. 8 Luis Toribio, No. 11 Will Wilson, No. 13 Jaylin Davis and No. 25 Camilo Doval already are at the alternate site in Sacramento.

Schmitt was the Giants' second-round draft pick (No. 49 overall) this year, while Harrison was taken in the third round (No. 85 overall).

[RELATED: Dereck Rodriguez impressed by Joey Bart, other prospects]

Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, is trying to rebuild the team's farm system, so getting several of his top prospects at least a month of development this year would go a long way to helping the big league club return to glory over the next few seasons.