Giants

Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint

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Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint

OAKLAND — Asked Friday afternoon to describe his latest symptoms, Jeff Samardzija smiled.

“It’s a little bit of dead arm, like if your older brother cold-cocked you in the arm,” he said. 

Childhood disagreements don’t generally come with a big needle, though. Samardzija had a PRP injection over the break as the Giants continue to try and find a solution to shoulder problems that have put him on the disabled list for a third time. The Giants are listing their No. 5 starter as “TBA” for now, and manager Bruce Bochy said he hasn’t ruled Samardzija out, but the right-hander won’t throw a bullpen session until Sunday at the earliest, so it seems overly optimistic that he'll start next Wednesday. 

Samardzija himself was optimistic while describing an ailment that once again flared up during his second start back from the DL. He said he is spending time with pitching coach Curt Young and the training staff and trying to find out what specific activities are leading to issues. He already has changed his work in the weight room and may adjust his throwing and batting practice routines. 

“The silver lining is that it’s nothing new,” he said. “We’re dealing with the same thing as before and trying to avoid those flareups.”

Samardzija has a 6.25 ERA in 10 starts this season and the Giants don’t have many more to throw at him as they try to get him right. They're trying to stay in the race, after all. If that doesn’t happen this season, Samardzija said he’ll overhaul his offseason routine to try and avoid another year like this. Doctors have not recommended surgery to this point. 

--- A day before Samardzija had an injection, Buster Posey had cortisone shot into his hip. Posey was in the lineup Friday as the catcher and said he felt good. He cautioned, though, that he won’t know if the injection worked until he gets out there for a few games. Posey played through hip discomfort for most of the first half and hit just five homers. 

--- Evan Longoria started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento and could be activated as soon as Tuesday in Seattle. The Giants will face James Paxton that night, and could certainly use Longoria’s right-handed bat. Joe Panik (groin strain) could start his rehab assignment next week. He took batting practice on Friday. 

--- Brandon Belt was placed on the paternity list and Ryder Jones was brought down from Sacramento for a spot start against righty Edwin Jackson. The Belts are expecting their second child this weekend. Bochy said Belt will be back and in the lineup on Saturday night.  

--- Here are our latest Power Rankings, with updates on former Giants Cory Gearrin, George Kontos, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo and others. 

MLB free agency: Giants might look to upgrade in these three areas

MLB free agency: Giants might look to upgrade in these three areas

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time in 13 years, the Giants spent the beginning of their offseason hiring a new manager, but that wasn't the only heavy lifting president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the front office had to do.

A new general manager, Scott Harris, also was hired, and since Harris and manager Gabe Kapler came on, the organization has spent weeks putting together a young coaching staff

Now comes an even more tedious job. The Giants need to seriously upgrade their roster. Zaidi, Harris and Kapler sat down with the media on Monday afternoon and had their first opportunity to lay out some of that vision, and during the half-hour session, they hit on three spots that stand out as obvious holes.  

Infield Depth

At least on paper, the Giants are set here. Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria will start on the left side, Mauricio Dubon should enter camp as the second baseman, and Donovan Solano was signed to a one-year deal in November. But three of those four hitters are right-handed. 

"We're still looking at options to add infield depth," Zaidi said. "We've talked a little bit about (how) a left-handed bat might make more sense ... but we're not limiting ourselves to that. When you get to the middle infield it's always nice to have depth and those guys can always obviously move around to the corners."

Adding another middle infielder could allow the Giants to push Dubon to center field, something they discussed before non-tendering Kevin Pillar and continue to assess, Zaidi said. At the very least, the Giants figure to add a left-handed bat who can play third.

Pablo Sandoval is a free agent and out for most of 2020 (although he did get married over the weekend with plenty of former teammates -- including Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, Mike Yastrzemski and Bruce Bochy -- in attendance).

A Bat In The Outfield

While the Giants are right-handed on the infield, they're awfully left-handed when you get to the outfield. Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson and Steven Duggar might be the three Giants currently locked in for the most playing time out there, although Austin Slater and Jaylin Davis are both right-handed. 

Enter Nicholas Castallanos? Maybe. The Giants are interested in the right-handed slugger, and he could be the jewel of their offseason. Either way, a right-handed bat is high on the wish list. 

"With the extra roster spot next year, there's always a possibility to do a little bit more matching up, so you want to have balance on all parts of your roster," Zaidi said. 

Yastrzemski actually crushed lefties last year but Dickerson was just 4-for-21, so the Giants will certainly try to add another platoon option for one of the corner spots. 

Veteran Catcher

A year after they let Nick Hundley move on, the Giants watched Stephen Vogt sign with the Diamondbacks. It's a move that stings, because Vogt was a clubhouse leader and a left-handed hitter who had almost formed a platoon with Buster Posey by the end of the season. 

You would think the Giants would want another veteran in the mix, especially because they went so far -- remember Erik Kratz? -- to keep Aramis Garcia off the opening day roster last year. But Zaidi said that's not necessarily the case. 

[RELATED: Report: Seven teams outside of Giants interested in MadBum]

"We'd like to see him get an opportunity," Zaidi said of Garcia. "He's putting in a lot of work this offseason and he's a guy we would like to see get an opportunity as well. I guess we're not closed off to (adding) but we have some good young catching depth and at some point we want to create opportunities for these guys."

Garcia, who turns 27 in January, is more than capable of backing up Posey and he's playing Winter Ball this year to prepare himself. The Giants also have top prospect Joey Bart on the fast track, so this is one area where perhaps there's no need to put another veteran in the room with Posey. 

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner has interest from seven teams

Madison Bumgarner debuted for the Giants on Sept. 8, 2009. He has known one team his entire career, and the 30-year-old is revered as a franchise hero. 

The big question now is, will he find a new home this offseason in free agency or return to San Francisco? President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear on Monday during Winter Meetings Live that the Giants still are in the Bumgarner market

"We're involved in those discussions," Zaidi said. "We're planning to meet with his representatives this week and they have other meetings scheduled, too. That's what happens when a player is a free agent, they're going to explore all their options. Guys are looking for different things, looking for maybe a particular geography, maybe a team in a specific part of their competitive cycle.

"We're one of the suitors. We're just going to put our best foot forward and see what happens, but he's earned this opportunity to be a free agent and, as we expected, there's no shortage of interest in a guy with his pedigree."

Zaidi knows the Giants will have competition when it comes to re-signing Bumgarner, and it appears his market is growing. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Monday night that outside of the Giants, there are seven teams linked to MadBum: The Braves, Cardinals, Reds, D'backs, Angels, Twins and Yankees. 

There aren't too many surprises in that group, but the D'backs seem to be the new team in the mix. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly stated the location could make sense as Bumgarner has horses in Phoenix, and Heyman says Arizona already has made a light offer to the left-hander. 

[RELATED: Report: Giants seen as top bidder for slugger Castellanos]

Bumgarner's asking price could be on the rise, and it will be interesting to see what kind of deals teams send his way. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Monday that teams are being told Bumgarner is looking for a deal worth at least $100 million over five years. That seems increasingly likely with Zack Wheeler joining the Phillies on a $118 million contract. 

Multiple teams reportedly are in on the former World Series hero. The Giants might get the last call, but there's a chance Bumgarner is off the board by the time the Winter Meetings end Thursday.