Logan Webb, top Giants pitching prospect, suspended 80 games for PED


Logan Webb, top Giants pitching prospect, suspended 80 games for PED

SAN FRANCISCO -- There are a lot of talent evaluators who thought Logan Webb might be the Giants' top pitching prospect by the end of the summer. That won't be the case. 

The hard-throwing right-hander was suspended 80 games after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance, MLB announced Wednesday morning. Webb, 22, was off to a huge start in Double-A, posting a 2.00 ERA in five games, with 31 strikeouts in 27 innings. 

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Webb was adamant that he does not know how the PED got into his system. 

"For the past month and a half I have tried endlessly to find the answer to why the M4 metabolite was found in my urine sample. I have done research, I have talked to people who know a lot more about it than I do, and I have sent in an endless amount of supplements and products for testing that I have used over the past couple years," he said. "Unfortunately, none of those things have helped me find that answer, and the time for me to find the reason that this has happened has run out. I know in my heart that something someday will be put into the world to prove my innocence. 

"That being said, I do not disagree with MLB’s policy, and respect the drug testing system that has been put in place. I love this game and respect it too much to ever cheat it. I am heartbroken over this and I am not sure why this is happening to me, but in life some things happen for a reason and it is my job now to find that reason."

Webb was a fourth-round pick in 2014 but was slowed by Tommy John surgery. When he returned last year, he had a 1.82 ERA in 21 appearances for San Jose and earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond.

Webb was added to the 40-man roster over the offseason and the Giants were excited about the tenacity and stuff he showed this spring. There was a chance he could have been an option in the big leagues by the end of this year.

"I would like to apologize to my family, friends, teammates & the San Francisco Giants organization for the negative attention this has brought to them," Webb said in the statement. "The platform you guys have created for me to pursue my dreams is special to me and I want you to know I would never do anything to ruin that. Over the next couple of months and the rest of my career I will continue to work on regaining the trust and respect I’ve earned over the past few years with my teammates and the Giants organization. I will be back and better than ever."

[RELATED: How Logan Webb shot up Giants' prospect rankings]

The Giants released their own statement that simply said the organization was disappointed that Webb violated the terms of MLB's drug prevention and treatment program. This is another unbelievable blow for an organization that entered the year with little prospect depth.

The Giants already have seen their top two prospects -- Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos -- go down to injuries. 

Zack Greinke calls pitch out loud, reaches new level of Giants ownage

Zack Greinke calls pitch out loud, reaches new level of Giants ownage

Zack Greinke was so good Wednesday night that the Giants couldn't make contact when he told them what pitches were coming.

No, seriously.

Greinke signaled his pitch to Astros catcher MartÍn Maldonaldo in the top of the seventh inning of Houston's 5-1 win ... with runners on first and second, nobody out and Giants shortstop Mauricio Dubon stood in the batter's box.

Dubon then flew out to center on the pitch Greinke called.

“Today, there was a man on second base and it got all messed up and it took longer than I was hoping it would take,” Greinke told reporters on a video conference call (H/T's Brian McTaggart). “It’s 50 percent my fault and 50 percent Maldy’s fault. ... I don’t like taking a long time with a man on second base especially. I’m trying to find a way to speed that up. So far this year, it's been good. It got messed up today.”

[RELATED: Slater, Solano injuries expose Giants' offensive weakness in loss]

Greinke wasn't just showing off, but he had every right to with Wednesday's performance. The longtime thorn in the Giants' side struck out seven and allowed just one earned run 6 1/3 innings of work. Greinke picked up his first win of the season, improving to 14-3 in his career against the Giants and lowering his all-time ERA versus San Francisco to just 2.18. The 36-year-old has now won more games against the Giants than all but one other team.

Ownage is ownage, but signaling your own pitches ownage? That's something else entirely.

Austin Slater, Donovan Solano injuries show Giants' offensive weakness

Austin Slater, Donovan Solano injuries show Giants' offensive weakness

The Giants have made a habit of coming back in late innings, but that probably wasn't going to be in the cards on a night when Houston Astros starter Zack Greinke slipped into cruise control.

Even if he did have a shot late in Thursday's 5-1 loss, Giants manager Gabe Kapler would have been without two of his best weapons. 

Donovan Solano missed a second straight game with abdominal soreness and Austin Slater was a late scratch with right elbow pain. While the Giants are hopeful that Solano is ready Friday against the A's, the news on Slater feels more discouraging. 

Slater had a sprained elbow in 2018 but didn't miss time because it happened the last weekend of the regular season. Kapler said Slater felt discomfort swinging and throwing Wednesday, and it seems likely he's headed for an MRI when the club returns to San Francisco. 

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Without their two best right-handed bats, the Giants went down quietly Thursday to finish 3-7 on the road trip.

It was a 10-game journey that cemented Solano's status as an everyday player, and it showed off the improvements Slater has made at the plate. But it also demonstrated just how toothless the Giants can be when their bigger names continue to slump.

Brandon Belt went 5-for-32 on the trip with two extra-base hits, and Brandon Crawford was 6-for-28. He doesn't have an extra-base hit all season. Evan Longoria was 4-for-33 on his first road trip of the season. While Hunter Pence had a huge homer Tuesday, his 0-for-4 a night later dropped his average back to .105 for the year. Pablo Sandoval is at .179 and was notably absent on Wednesday when the late scratch of Slater forced Kapler into lineup changes against a right-hander. It's hard to see where he fits in at the moment. 

Asked about his struggling veterans, Kapler said baseball is a team game.

"I don't ever put the onus on any one individual or even on two or three," Kapler said. "I think the right way to look at this is when one guy is struggling or not consistent, then the rest of the group has to surround that player or that group of players with support."

[RELATED: Where Giants' farm system ranks in BA's mid-year update]

The problem with that is that the onus has been put on two or three guys every night because so many others are struggling. Mike Yastrzemski (who had three more hits Wednesday), Slater and Solano all have an OPS above 1.000. Nobody else on the team is above .800, and the more familiar names are all several levels below that.

That's a recipe that's not going to work, especially when two of the three main contributors are in the trainer's room.