A's Stephen Piscotty, Giants' Buster Posey nominated for Hutch Award


A's Stephen Piscotty, Giants' Buster Posey nominated for Hutch Award

When you think of a fiery competitor, who comes to mind? Well, there's a Major League Baseball honor dedicated to just that: The Hutch Award. 

The Hutch Award, named after the late Fred "Hutch" Hutchinson. is given annually to an active MLB player who "best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire." Much like Hutch himself, who died from cancer in 1964.

Two Bay Area ballplayers have been nominated for the award: A's Stephen Piscotty and Giants' Buster Posey:

According to the website, Piscotty's nomination stems from his journey through adversity that began in 2017 when his mother, Gretchen, was diagnosed with ALS when Piscotty was still a member of the Cardinals.

"Shouldering the responsibilities of a Major League Baseball player and of a son to a mother with a progressive neurodegenerative disease 2,000 miles away, Stephen had the worst season of his playing career. Following an offseason trade to play for his hometown Oakland A’s, Stephen moved home to live with his parents and two younger brothers. Six months after the trade, on May 6, 2018, Gretchen passed away with Stephen and the entire Piscotty family by her side."

Posey's nomination was dedicated to the six-time All-Star being more than a catcher, but also an ambassador to the game of baseball.

"Off the field, Buster has focused his philanthropic efforts on supporting pediatric cancer awareness and research through the establishment of The Buster & Kristen Posey Fund in April 2016. In just over three years, the Poseys have raised more than $3 million for the Posey Family Research Grant and Fellowship Programs."

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This honorary award was created in 1965, one year after Hutchinson's death. The group of creators also started a scholarship fund for medical students engaged in cancer research to honor Hutch's memory. 

Former recipients of the award include Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski, Jason Giambi, and Barry Zito.

Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants


Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- For several days, the Giants listed Monday's starter as "TBA," leading to speculation that they would try an opener for a second straight week. Instead, it will be a familiar starter.

Left-hander Andrew Suarez will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make his first big league start of the season. Suarez made 29 starts for the Giants last season, posting a 4.49 ERA in a rookie season that was a bit better than the final numbers indicated. 

Suarez did not make the rotation out of camp and has a 6.33 ERA in six minor league starts. He missed more than two weeks with a hamstring strain and has given up seven earned runs in 8 2/3 innings since returning to Triple-A Sacramento. 

"I'm sure he's chipping a little rust off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "A day like this, especially for a guy that made as many starts as he did, can be pretty uplifting and fire a guy up. We need a starter tomorrow and with his experience and what he did last year, this makes sense for us."

With Suarez and Shaun Anderson set to go the first two games against the Braves, the Giants will have taken a look at all four young pitchers who could be part of a future rotation. Dereck Rodriguez and Tyler Beede already have gotten a look and been optioned. Both are in Triple-A, currently. 

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Given the state of the roster, it's possible either Suarez or Anderson is sent back to Triple-A after his start. Bochy said the young pitchers know the deal. 

"I think they see it around baseball and they understand it," he said. 

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA


Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization. 

Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter. 

On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.

The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.

But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing. 

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The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list.