Giants

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

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USATSI

Pirates front office raves about McCutchen after trading him to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a sense of celebration within the Giants organization on Monday after the addition of Andrew McCutchen. He is easily their best outfielder, a potential solution atop the order, and a player who is known for being a tremendous presence in the clubhouse. 

If the Giants had any doubts, though, they surely felt better after seeing the quotes that came out of Pittsburgh. In a series of statements, Pirates officials made it clear this was a difficult trade to make, with chairman Bob Nutting calling it “one of the most emotionally agonizing decisions that we have had to make in my tenure.”

Nutting, in a statement, said that McCutchen’s smile and energy were infectious even as a teenager. Later, McCutchen got the Pirates to three straight postseason appearances. 

“He did so while always carrying himself with humility, dignity and grace,” Nutting said. 

Team president Frank Coonelly described the trade as painful. 

“(No) individual was more responsible for the success that we had from 2013 to 2015 than Cutch,” Coonelly said in a statement,” And no player was more disappointed than Andrew that we did not break through and win a World Series Championship for the City of Pittsburgh.”

McCutchen was Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2005 draft and made his debut in 2009. In nine seasons with the Pirates, he was a five-time All-Star and a perennial MVP candidate. He won the award in 2013 and finished in the top five of voting for four consecutive seasons. 

General manager Neal Huntington said the decision to actually part with the franchise player was “incredibly difficult.”

“Watching Andrew patrol center field with grace, fly around the bases, drive the ball all around the ballpark, celebrate with his teammates or interact with his family, friends or fans has created lifelong memories for me and many, many others around the game of baseball,” he said. 

Giants can't solve Richard as winning streak comes to an end

Giants can't solve Richard as winning streak comes to an end

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clayton Richard pitched three-hit ball over six innings for his fourth consecutive win and the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Friday night.

Eric Hosmer and Manuel Margot each had two hits and two RBIs as the Padres snapped a five-game skid. Travis Jankowski and Cory Spangenberg added two hits apiece.

Richard (7-6) was dominant in his third start against the Giants this season. He retired 17 straight during one stretch, allowed only two runners past second base and struck out four. The four consecutive wins mark a career high for the left-hander.

San Diego's bullpen made Richard's performance hold up, but it was dicey at times.

Padres manager Andy Green used three relievers to get out of the seventh. Kirby Yates allowed a leadoff single in the eighth before setting down the next three. Brad Hand retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.

Gorkys Hernandez doubled twice off Richard.

San Diego scored the go-ahead run in the sixth on a throwing error by catcher Nick Hundley.

Spangenberg slid into first base with an infield single after initially being called out. After Freddy Galvis singled Spangenberg to third, Hundley blocked a wild pitch by starting pitcher Chris Stratton but threw the ball into center field, allowing Spangenberg to score. Margot followed with an RBI single.

Sandoval's two-out single in the seventh off Craig Stammen trimmed San Diego's lead to 3-2 before the Padres scored three in the ninth.

Stratton (8-5) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres:Austin Hedges (elbow tendinitis) continues to make progress in his rehab start with Triple-A El Paso and could rejoin the team soon. The Chihuahuas are playing a series against San Francisco's affiliate in Sacramento, about 80 minutes north AT&T Park.

Giants: The team is undecided what the next step will be for Jeff Samardzija after the right-hander gave up four runs in four innings with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. Manager Bruce Bochy said it's possible Samardzija will make at least one more rehab start before rejoining the big league club.

UP NEXT

RHP Jordan Lyles (2-4, 4.46 ERA) pitches for San Diego on Saturday in the third game of the series. It will be Lyles' ninth start, his most since 2015. LHP Andrew Suarez(2-4, 4.70) goes for San Francisco.

Down on the Farm: Jalen Miller is this year's Giants breakout prospect

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Tim Cattera

Down on the Farm: Jalen Miller is this year's Giants breakout prospect

Every year in the MLB Draft, comparisons are thrown around for college and high school prospects, most of them way over the top. He's the next Barry Bonds. He's the next Derek Jeter. He's the next Chipper Jones. He's the next Pedro Martinez. 

When the Giants drafted Jalen Miller in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft, the high school middle infielder from Georgia was often compared to a three-time All-Star who started out as a prepster middle infielder from the Peach State -- Brandon Phillips. While Phillips isn't a future Hall of Famer, he was a speedy second baseman with power and a golden glove, four Gold Gloves to be exact. 

Miller started off his professional career at 19 years old and immediately showed his speed and athleticism. The bat, however, was way behind any Phillips comparisons. In his first three seasons, Miller batted .218, .223, .227 with a combined 11 home runs. Now in his fourth season as a pro, and his second with the San Jose Giants, Miller is enjoying his breakout year before our eyes. 

At the All-Star break, Miller ranked seventh in the California League in batting average (.305), second in hits (81), and sixth in doubles (18). To open up the second half, Miller balsted his eighth home run of the year, the exact amound he hit in the California League Home Run Derby, and already two more than his previous career high of six. During his second stint in San Jose, Miller has made strides at the plate with his power and overall consistency. 

Aside from hitting for a low average his first three seasons, Miller also struggled reaching base. Not once in those first three seasons did Miller have an on-base percentage of .300 or higher. And from 2015-17, he struck out 249 to 74 walks. Miller has a .345 on-base percentage to go with his .303 batting average and .472 batting average in 65 games. All three parts of his slash line are career highs by a long shot. Though the 21-year-old still has a ways to go with his patience (61 walks to 15 walks this year), Miller has vastly improved his overall approach and pitch recognition. 

Just as he has become more consistent on offense, Miller has improved his consistency with his glove as well. Drafted as a shortstop, the 5-foot-11 Miller has solely played second base this season. His .965 fielding percentage is a career high and he has turned 45 doubles plays so far. 

Comparisons, just like the draft itself, is a two-eyes-closed leap of faith. Miller and Phillips, both high school prospects from the same state, were both drafted as athletic shortstops full of upside who transitioned to second base, with Phillips going one round higher. For Miller, the results are coming later than Phillips, and that's just fine as the Giants' No. 29 prospect gets closer to his Georgia counterpart.