Giants

Giants' Tyler Beede continues rough nights giving up more home runs

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Giants' Tyler Beede continues rough nights giving up more home runs

It's always a good time when Madison Bumgarner pinch-hits for the Giants, and there was a bit of added flavor Tuesday. After Bumgarner drew a walk from Cole Hamels, Logan Webb entered to run for the staff ace. 

It was an interesting moment, but one Bruce Bochy didn't want to see so early in the first game at Wrigley Field. Bumgarner was hitting because Tyler Beede had thrown 91 pitches in four innings and was done for the night. 

In a game the Giants would go on to lose 5-3, Beede gave up three solo homers to the Cubs in his four innings. He has allowed 11 homers over his last six starts, giving up 25 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings. 

"It's execution of pitches, the pitch quality, making mistakes. That's the key to pitching," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters when asked about the home run issue. "Sometimes it gets away from you and it gets over the heart of the plate. That's what happens to him. He's making great pitches at times and then makes that mistake. He's just not getting away with them. Those are good hitters, they're going to take advantage of them. That's the hump he's got to get over, is being consistent on every pitch."

The first homer Beede allowed Tuesday was a prime example of the recent trend of mistakes. It was a fastball that was located, well, just take a look:

That one was hit out by Nicholas Castellanos. The next two were off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, and while they weren't as dead-center as the first one, they were both mistake pitches. Rizzo hit a fastball that was down and in but in his sweet spot, then blasted a changeup two innings later. 

“I don’t want to continue to feel like if I make a mistake, it’s going to leave the yard," Beede told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "But it seems to be the way things are going as of right now.”

The staff discussed Beede's rotation spot after his last rough start, but when the Giants got to Phoenix a day later, Bochy announced that Beede would face the Cubs. The team was in a tough spot with the rotation, but there's a bit more breathing room if the Giants again want to discuss giving Beede a chance to step back.

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Shaun Anderson made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday and should be ready to return if needed. On a longer timeframe, Johnny Cueto is also lined up to slide into the rotation spot. Cueto made a second rehab appearance for the San Jose Giants on Tuesday and now will make two starts for the River Cats. 

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

Giants announce changes to Oracle Park, move bullpens to outfield

On the first day of the Winter Meetings, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that Brandon Belt might often be checking his phone these days for updates on exactly how much the Giants would be chopping out of Triples Alley. On Thursday the Giants finally made their new dimensions official, with changes that aren't all that drastic and still will keep Oracle Park as a pitchers' park with a deep alley in right-center.

It still will be difficult for left-handed hitters to yank the ball out in Triples Alley, but the Giants did change enough that offense should get a slight boost. 

With the bullpens moving from foul territory to the outfield, Triples Alley will be cut from 421 feet to 415. The wall will be five feet closer in left-center and eight feet closer in straightaway center. The bullpens will be situated in center field on either side of the garden that already exists out there. 

"Obviously it's something that started off really as a safety issue with some of what we've seen over the last couple of years, but there's going to be a fun baseball element," Zaidi said earlier this week. "We've done a lot of studies on how we think it's going to impact things but until you actually start playing games and the ball starts flying, you're never quite sure how it's going to go. It'll be a fun and exciting time."

It'll also be a much different look for relievers and fans who sit out in the bleachers. The Giants announced that several bleacher seats will directly overlook the bullpens and they will have two new standing-room terraces out there for fans. The garden in center field will also provide a direct view into the Giants' bullpen. 

[RELATED: Giants announce eight additions to coaching staff]

For the players, the bullpens will have padded chain link openings in the wall so they can watch the game. The centerfield wall will also be one foot shorter, going from eight to seven feet, which could aid a hitter or two every year but may also make it easier for the centerfielder to rob an opposing batter. 

The Giants expect a touch more offense from the new look, but as they ran studies in recent months, they discovered that the weather was actually the main factor in knocking down potential home runs. The heavy air will still be there at night, protecting pitchers and frustrating hitters. 

That'll be good news for Giants relievers. The press release continued one more bit of important news for that group. Both bullpens will have their own bathroom for players. 

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- It'll be easy to tell when the Giants once again are elite on the field, but when it comes to the health of the minor league system and back end of the 40-man roster, the indicators aren't as clear to the public. One good measure of success will be the yearly Rule 5 draft, which provides an opportunity for struggling clubs to add talent to their big league roster by raiding loaded systems. 

The Astros lost three prospects in the first 10 selections Thursday morning. The Yankees, Nationals and Rays also lost players during the first four picks. That's a sign of health for those organizations, of depth the Giants hope to build. They've made strides but they're still far behind, so on Thursday they once again were on the selecting end. 

A year after they took two players in the Rule 5, the Giants used their lone open roster spot on Dany Jimenez, a 25-year-old right-hander who pitched in the Blue Jays' system last year. Jimenez has a live arm and better command than you usually see from Rule 5 picks. The Giants will throw him in the bullpen mix but must return him to the Blue Jays if Jimenez is not on their big league roster.

"We were happy he fell to us," general manager Scott Harris said. "As we talked about all week, we're trying to find talent. We're trying to find new creative ways. This isn't the most creative way but we got an arm we like."

The Giants selected Drew Ferguson and Travis Bergen last December and later acquired Connor Joe, who was their opening day left fielder. Ferguson was sent back to the Astros during the spring and Joe ended up back with the Dodgers after a few games. Bergen lasted a few months but eventually was sent back to the Blue Jays. 

Jimenez has a strong shot at making the opening day roster and has a better shot than most Rule 5 picks of surviving. It's easier to hide a pitcher in your bullpen all year, particularly with the rosters expanding and the Giants able to carry 13 arms throughout the season. Jimenez also has more experience than Bergen did. He reached Double-A last season and dominated, posting a 1.87 ERA and striking out 46 in 33 2/3 innings. 

Harris said Jimenez has a fastball in the upper 90s. He has averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors and has kept his walk rate on the high end of what's acceptable. That might play in the big leagues, giving the Giants a free reliever at a time when their bullpen is undergoing massive changes. 

[RELATED: Three winners, three losers from the MLB Winter Meetings]

The Giants did not lose a player in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. In the Triple-A phase, they added Brewers catching prospect Bryan Torres to the River Cats' roster.

There was one other pick of note. Starting pitcher Stephen Woods was the fourth overall pick of the draft, going from the Rays to the Royals. Two years ago, the Giants sent Woods to Tampa Bay in the Evan Longoria deal.