Giants

Why Gabe Kapler isn't worried about Giants suspending camp Tuesday

Why Gabe Kapler isn't worried about Giants suspending camp Tuesday

The Giants have spent weeks preparing for every possibility that might pop up during a spring training held at Oracle Park amid a continued coronavirus outbreak.

But there's one thing they could not have planned for, a hurdle nobody quite saw coming across the league. 

A missing FedEx truck. 

On Tuesday the Giants announced that their afternoon workout had been canceled because they are awaiting test results from Saturday. Manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants, like at least a half-dozen other teams, had issues relating to their courier who was supposed to take a round of COVID-19 tests to MLB's facility in Utah. Because the Giants did not have Saturday's results back, they were unable to take the field Tuesday.

A few players, mostly pitchers, were able to take part in a light workout in the morning before the staff made the decision to call off the day's activities. Kapler said he's confident Saturday's test results will come back Tuesday at some point, allowing the Giants to take the field as planned Wednesday. 

While some executives around the league have blasted MLB's handling of all this, Kapler was diplomatic, saying he has a "level of empathy for everybody" working hard to keep camps running across the league.

"Nobody expected this to be easy," Kapler said, "And everybody is doing the best that they can."

It will have to be better, though. Players already have a high level of distrust with the league and trepidation about playing this season, as Buster Posey made clear Saturday. Continued issues could lead to a wave of players opting out before the season even starts, and people across the game have said publicly the last couple of days that they need to see MLB clean up the process. 

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The issues started over the weekend when the A's were unable to hold a workout because their test results had been delayed by a lack of pickups over the holiday weekend. On Monday, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros had to cancel workouts because of delays for Friday's testing. The Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels also have had to push back workouts. 

Players are supposed to be tested every other day, and Kapler was hopeful that the process would get back on track quickly. The Giants had another round of testing Monday and hope to get that back Wednesday. Kapler was confident the protocols would be better figured out in the coming days. 

"I feel as confident today as I did yesterday," he said. "I understand that there's going to be hiccups along the way. I think our club does, as well. Our players and staff are included in that. I still have confidence for sure."

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The Giants were supposed to hold their first intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday. They had moved it up a few days because camp had been going well over the weekend, and there is some urgency to all of this. The Giants will open at Dodger Stadium on July 23, and while they have not had any known big leaguers test positive for COVID-19 -- four members of the organization have, overall -- there is very little time to get the healthy players ready. 

Kapler, though, focused on the positive. He said this would not be a significant setback, noting that it could be a needed break for players, coaches and support staff, most of whom rushed to San Francisco in the last two weeks and jumped right into a modified camp with extreme safety protocols. Kapler said the Giants would use this as a "mental recovery day."

"There's some benefit to that," he said.

Giants prospects could benefit from reported MLB player pool expansion

Giants prospects could benefit from reported MLB player pool expansion

While roughly 30 Giants minor leaguers train in Sacramento, some notable names were left off the 60-man player pool by the team.

Those prospects might be summoned to Sutter Health Park soon, though.

Baseball America reported Friday, citing sources, that MLB is considering allowing teams to add 15 players to their player pool. According to the report, some teams are struggling to play intrasquad games due to lack of position players.

This could be good news for Giants prospects like Sean Hjelle, Seth Corry, Tristan Beck, Luis Matos and others.

Twitter user @giantsprospects speculated which 15 players the Giants might want to add to the group in Sacramento.

Based on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospect ranking for the Giants, here's where those prospects fall on the list.

Seth Corry -- No. 5
Luis Matos -- No. 9
Sean Hjelle -- No. 10
Tristan Beck -- No. 19
Gregory Santos -- No. 17
Melvin Adon -- No. 24
Jairo Pomares -- No. 14
Blake Rivera -- No. 16
Kai-Wei Teng -- No. 22
Trevor McDonald -- N/A
Ricardo Genoves -- N/A
Rayner Santana -- N/A
Aeverson Arteaga -- No. 21
Kyle Harrison -- No. 12
Casey Schmitt -- No. 23

This list isn't official -- it's just a guess -- but if the Giants added those 15 players, it would mean a good portion of their top 30 prospects would be in Sacramento getting much-needed development time.

No. 1 prospect Joey Bart, No. 2 Marco Luciano, No. 3 Heliot Ramos, No. 4 Hunter Bishop, No. 6 Patrick Bailey, No. 7 Alexander Canario, No. 8 Luis Toribio, No. 11 Will Wilson, No. 13 Jaylin Davis and No. 25 Camilo Doval already are at the alternate site in Sacramento.

Schmitt was the Giants' second-round draft pick (No. 49 overall) this year, while Harrison was taken in the third round (No. 85 overall).

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Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, is trying to rebuild the team's farm system, so getting several of his top prospects at least a month of development this year would go a long way to helping the big league club return to glory over the next few seasons.

Giants' Austin Slater has flexor strain, could be in lineup by weekend

Giants' Austin Slater has flexor strain, could be in lineup by weekend

The Giants got relatively good news from the tests taken on a young player who might be having a breakout season. 

Austin Slater has a right flexor strain that kept him out of the lineup for a second straight game, but manager Gabe Kapler said it's possible Slater will be able to DH sometime this weekend against the A's. 

Slater felt pain during Tuesday's game in Houston and had to sit Wednesday. He was able to take swings Friday and Kapler said that went well. 

"A flexor strain for a position player is less daunting, perhaps, than for a pitcher, because outfielders can monitor how often and how hard they throw," Kapler said. "They may have one or two throws an entire game. I think there are ways to allow flexors to come around for outfielders that you just couldn't do for pitchers."

Slater had an elbow sprain in 2018 but it happened the last week of the season, so there was no need for a timetable. The injury this time is poorly timed, as he has been one of the hotter hitters in the league, slugging three homers on the road trip and compiling numbers that are up there with Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano, the two early-season stars for the Giants. Slater has a .444 on-base percentage and is slugging .632, and he's tied for the MLB lead with five stolen bases. 

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The Giants released a few other injury updates Friday. Sam Coonrod (lat strain) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session, which should put him pretty close to a return. Drew Smyly (finger sprain) is throwing on flat ground and will be re-examined this weekend. Jeff Samardzija (shoulder inflammation) is rehabbing San Francisco but has not been cleared to throw. Reyes Moronta (shoulder surgery) is throwing bullpen sessions at the alternate site in Sacramento. 

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