Steven Duggar shines, makes instant impact in return to Giants lineup

Steven Duggar shines, makes instant impact in return to Giants lineup

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's a phrase Steven Duggar uses often, and he dropped it into an interview after making his spring debut Friday night. 

"I like to go get it," he says. 

The Giants do not want their young center fielder to fully go get it, at least not yet, not for a few more weeks. 

Duggar is coming off shoulder surgery and has been told not to dive until Opening Day. Ordinarily that wouldn't be a big deal, especially not in spring training. 

But Duggar really, really likes to go get it, and it's one of the things he does best. In a full season, he should be one of the more effective defensive outfielders in the National League, and he has spent years dreaming of diving through the air at Oracle Park, robbing an opponent of extra bases. 

Ironically, Duggar tore his left labrum by diving, just not on defense. He got hurt diving back into second base last year, just as he was really getting going at the plate, and in his spring debut Friday, he naturally had a similar test. 

Duggar went hard around third on a bloop to left but went back because he had missed the bag. He slipped during the sequence, but there was no dive back into the bag. 

An hour later, he said he feels great physically. Mentally, the months of rehab do not weigh on him when he takes the field. 

"We've done the rehab, we've done the work, and now it's just about trusting it," Duggar said. "When I have to dive for the first time, I think once I do that, it will truly be behind me, but in terms of playing I feel normal. I'm 100 percent healthy, for sure."

He also is potentially headed for life as a leadoff hitter. That swing around third was part of a sequence that showed why the Giants like his bat near the top of the order. 

Duggar drew a walk, stole second without a throw after getting a good jump, took third on a bloop to left and then raced home on a wild pitch that didn't get far from the plate. It was the kind of manufactured run this lineup will need. 

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Duggar is on track to be fully ready for the season, but the staff will continue to ease him into the spring schedule. That's fine with him. His focus right now is on getting back to a point where everything slows down on the field. 

"I felt a little quick out there, but that's alright, that's part of it,” he said. “I'll make the adjustment and try to apply that into the next game."

Lefty Andrew Suarez returns to big leagues for another shot with Giants


Lefty 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. 

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.