Giants

Samardzija, Melancon to be added as World Baseball Classic alternates

Samardzija, Melancon to be added as World Baseball Classic alternates

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford help Team USA reach the later rounds of the World Baseball Classic, they may be joined by a pair of teammates.

Right-handers Mark Melancon and Jeff Samardzija will be added to the roster, CSN Bay Area has learned, although the Giants are unsure about what the exact level of participation would be. The players got the call from Joe Torre on Thursday, and Melancon said he could join the United States as soon as the second round in San Diego. Conversations with Samardzija centered on making him an option for the semifinal round, which starts March 20 in Los Angeles. 

"It wouldn't be a problem," Samardzija said. "I feel good."

While the Giants have not always been keen on their pitchers participating in the March tournament, Melancon and Samardzija have been two of the most consistent pitchers in camp. Melancon was perfect in his first three outings and he hasn't allowed a run in six appearances. Samardzija has allowed four runs in three starts, and his stuff looks to be in midseason form. His pitch count got into the 60s the last time out, and he said any WBC action would come right at the part of his spring where he usually peaks and then starts to wind down for the regular season. 

Melancon said he was asked to pitch in the tournament late last year, but he originally turned Team USA down because he did not want to leave during his first camp with the Giants. "It didn't feel right at the time," he said. Like Samardzija, Melancon said he's excited about the second chance. He had a long conversation with general manager Bobby Evans on Friday morning. 

"What an opportunity," Melancon said. "I'm really thankful the Giants are on board and they understand the opportunity there to be able to represent your country. We're all on the same page and comfortable with it. It's all about communication and having these guys back me up has been great." 

The Giants have one more right-hander who may join the tournament. Johnny Cueto, who is starting Saturday's Cactus League game, has yet to make a final decision on his participation. Cueto has told teammates that he is strongly leaning toward not playing, but his interest was said to be rekindled a bit as he watched recent WBC games and his potential teammates on the Dominican Republic team.

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos reflects on recent hot streak with San Jose

Giants prospect Heliot Ramos reflects on recent hot streak with San Jose

Everything felt right. There wasn’t anything off with his swing, he wasn’t pressing mentally and yet, he only had one hit in his first 17 at-bats. 

All it took was a home run on April 9 to get Heliot Ramos, the Giants’ No. 2 prospect, back on track. Since then, he's hitting .349 (15-for-43) with five home runs.

“I knew that I was doing everything right,” Ramos said on Tuesday’s Inside The San Jose Giants Podcast. “In my mind, everything was right. My confidence was good. My swing was good. I just needed the ball to get down. I just keep on swinging.” 

As he kept swinging, hits started to show up in the scorebook. What has been just as important, however, has been him not swinging. 

Ramos registered just 35 walks last season as a member of the Augusta GreenJackets and finished his first full season in the minor leagues with a lowly .313 on-base percentage. He worked all offseason tracking pitches longer and laying off breaking balls in the dirt while playing Winter Ball, and it has paid off big time. 

Through 18 games in High-A with the San Jose Giants, Ramos already has 14 walks and his on-base percentage is over 100 points higher than last season at .418.

“I can see the ball well right now,” Ramos said. “I feel good. I’ve been feeling good. I learned a lot from last year. I hope this is something that can keep going good for me.” 

Not only has Ramos shown improved patience at the plate, the center fielder is driving the ball all over the yard. He’s batting .262 with a .991 OPS, and 11 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases. Despite being the fifth-youngest player in the California League at 19 years old, he’s second in home runs (5), fifth in slugging percentage (.574), fifth in on-base percentage, fourth in walks, and third in OPS. 

San Jose was supposed to be a preview of what’s to come for years in San Francisco this season with the duo of Ramos and top prospect Joey Bart. A fractured hand for Bart has derailed those plans, but it hasn’t slowed down the younger of the two. 

Ramos no longer has the protection of Bart hitting right behind him. The teenager is seeing more off-speed pitches and is now the primary threat offensively to opposing teams. And yet, he’s flourished at the plate. 

[RELATED: Heliot Ramos' advancement 'really encouraging to see']

Since Bart broke his hand on April 15, Ramos has gone 8-for-26 (.308) with two home runs, two doubles, three RBI, and four runs scored. He’s growing every game as a player, both mentally and in the box score, and it could all be thanks to a disappointing season where he hit .245 with 136 strikeouts in 124 games last year. 

“Stay positive,” Ramos said when asked what he learned from last season. “That was the main thing I learned. Stay positive and never give up. Keep working hard and everything’s going to be okay.”

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019

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Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Drew Pomeranz goes for first win of 2019

The Giants' eight-game road trip finally is coming to an end. And they're going for their first sweep of the season.

After using four home runs to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, San Francisco is looking to leave Toronto with two consecutive wins. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy isn't switching anything up in his lineup one day after the power surge. On the hill will be left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who is 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA in eight careee starts against the Blue Jays.

The veteran is seeking his first win as a Giant.

Here are the projected lineups for the Giants-Blue Jays matchup, which you can watch at 1 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app.

San Francisco Giants (10-14)
RF Steven Duggar
LF Gerardo Parra
C Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
DH Pablo Sandoval
SS Brandon Crawford
CF Kevin Pillar
2B Joe Panik

Drew Pomeranz, LHP (0-2, 4.82 ERA)

[RELATED: Brandon Belt not fan of robot umpires]

Toronto Blue Jays (11-13)
2B Eric Sogard
3B Brandon Drury
DH Justin Smoak
RF Randal Grichuk
1B Rowdy Tellez
LF Teoscar Hernandez
C Danny Jansen
SS Richard Urena
RF Alen Hanson

Clay Buchholz, RHP (0-0, 3.38 ERA)