Johnny Cueto's return to Giants has him feeling like he's '19 years old'

Johnny Cueto's return to Giants has him feeling like he's '19 years old'

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have spent much of this season taking a look at young starters, so Johnny Cueto might actually fit right in when he returns to the mound Tuesday night. 

"I feel like I'm 19 years old," Cueto said over the weekend. 

That's in part due to his surgically-repaired elbow, and in part, because the 33-year-old simply looks much more similar to his Cincinnati Reds version than he has in his previous years with the Giants. 

Cueto has generally pitched at around 238-240 pounds in recent seasons, but he'll return to the mound a tick under 220. There were plenty of long days in the gym over the past year, but Cueto also overhauled his diet, cutting out most of his beloved trips to high-end steakhouses and instead focusing on eating as much fish as he could.

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Giants officials were pleasantly surprised when they first saw Cueto this spring and he has continued to tighten up over the course of a summer mostly spent at the team's facility in Arizona. Cueto backed the conditioning with hour upon hour of tedious elbow and shoulder work, and he had no setbacks during the rehab process. 

"I feel really good," he said. "I hope when Tuesday comes I'm ready to do my job and do the job I always do ... This is a process. For me, this is like spring training. I've got to make sure I execute my pitches."

The Giants had hoped Cueto could give them a boost in the Wild Card race. Instead, he joins a team that is out of it, but this start and any others Cueto makes this month still hold real significance. 

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Cueto has two more seasons left on his contract and intends to get back to his All-Star form. He'll follow Madison Bumgarner in the rotation this month and there's a chance the two will try to lead the Giants back to the postseason next year. But if Bumgarner moves on, Cueto will still play a leading role. The man who feels like he's 19 would enter 2020 as the ace of a young staff. 

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Scott Harris said goodbye to family members on Monday, a Giants employee walked over and dropped off two big bags full of jerseys and orange-and-black gear.

One of his parents needed to load up on the gifts more than the other. 

Harris grew up in Redwood City with a mother who is a Giants fan, but his father, who is from Chicago, is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. When it came time to pass on their rooting interests, they came up with an easy solution for their children.

"They divided the sons," Scott said, smiling. "I was raised a Cubs fan and my brother was raised a Giants fan, which put my nephew Teddy in an awkward spot because his dad loves the Giants and his uncle was working for the Cubs. Now at least Teddy has a little more clarity."

As Scott finished telling the story, his brother, Chris, laughed and quickly clapped. This worked out well for half of the Harris family. Scott will try and help his mother and brother's favorite team get back to the postseason, and his father has already benefited from the son's talents. Scott was part of the front office that finally brought a championship to Wrigley. 

On his first full day on the job, Scott talked about what made the Giants such a good fit -- aside from the family's rooting interests. He's excited to be back in the Bay Area and noted that as he took profile pictures under the sun at Oracle Park, the temperature was in the mid-20s back in Chicago. Harris has also been through a winter in New York, so he was thrilled to be working back in the Bay Area. The entire Harris family was fired up, too. His parents and brother sat in the fourth row for an introductory press conference and then got a tour of the clubhouse. 

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"I want to thank my family for always supporting me and their relentless pursuit of a way to get me back to the Bay Area. It worked, thank you," Harris said as he looked out as his parents and brother. "It's such a privilege to be here. It's a privilege to come back home. It's a privilege to work for a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base. 

"I grew up in Redwood City and vividly remember learning what the game looks like at the highest level by watching generations of Giants players come through Candlestick and come through this park."

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants officials and members of the media filed out of the press conference room at Oracle Park on Monday, a team employee reached over and flicked off one set of lights. Nobody bothered to take down the podium or remove the temporary seating. That all might be needed again in a few hours.

The Giants introduced Scott Harris as general manager on Monday and are poised to hold another press conference for their new manager. Harris is in the process of meeting with the remaining candidates and Farhan Zaidi said he would "have significant input into the final decision."

Zaidi said the manager announcement would come this week, and the Giants were internally preparing to introduce a new manager as soon as Tuesday. There are still three known finalists, and no decision had been made as of Monday morning. There are two who have separated from the pack, though. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada both have high-level supporters in the organization, per sources, and Kapler met with Giants officials again on Monday. He is said to be the frontrunner at this point. 

The search has lasted more than a month now, in part because it ran as the same time as the search for a new GM.

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"Having both of these balls in the air at the same time has made scheduling difficult and tricky at times," Zaidi said. "I'm just really happy that we have been able to get (Harris) in place and he does have that chance to connect with those candidates and provide input and really have a say in the final decision that I expect us to make this week."