Giants

Will Clark says Steven Duggar can play 'Gold Glove center field right now,' trusts the bat too

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AP

Will Clark says Steven Duggar can play 'Gold Glove center field right now,' trusts the bat too

Will Clark won his first and only Gold Glove at first base for the Giants at age 27 in 1991. It was Clark's sixth year in the major leagues. 

Steven Duggar won't have to wait that long to win the biggest hardware for his defense in Clark's eyes. 

"He can play Gold Glove center field right now in the big leagues. He can flat out go get it in center field," Clark said on the Giants' prospect Tuesday on KNBR. "He can definitely, definitely play a Gold Glove center field." 

Clark, who now serves a role in the Giants' front office after playing in five straight All-Star Games for his former team from 1988-92, has watched Duggar closely for more than just this spring training. When asked about his feelings on the 24-year-old, Clark made them clear right away. 

"I've seen Steve parts of the last two seasons in the minor leagues and I am definitely a Steven Duggar fan," Clark said. 

The question with Duggar has always been his bat. He has elite speed, gets great jumps in center field and everyone from Bruce Bochy to Buster Posey has praised his ability to track down fly balls. 

"His thing is, how quick is he going to make the adjustment in the big leagues with the pitching. I know there's a lot of people that are asking that question right now," Clark. 

Count The Thrill as one of the leaders in Camp Duggar. He joined many others in complimenting his glove left and right. But what he has to say about the Clemson product's bat is what puts him over the top. 

"He's succeeded at each level he's been at," Clark pointed out. "He will do it at the major league level and I'm kind of staking my reputation on that."

This is confidence -- to say the least -- coming from someone who was a .303 lifetime hitter and bashed 284 home runs in 15 seasons. 

Over three years in the minor leagues, Duggar is a .292 career hitter with a .384 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. Duggar started off scorching hot this spring with the Giants, but has cooled down with the Cactus League soon coming to a close. In 16 games, Duggar is slashing .250/.353/.545 and has shown more pop with four home runs. 

Giants have decision to make after Samardzija's shoulder acts up again

Giants have decision to make after Samardzija's shoulder acts up again

SAN FRANCISCO — Before the start of this three-game series, manager Bruce Bochy was asked whether he was ready to announce his second half rotation. Bochy was not, noting that he wanted to get through these three games. After the second game against the A’s, a 4-3 loss, he admitted that there’s now a discussion that needs to be had before any decisions are made public. 

Jeff Samardzija’s second start back from the disabled list was a step backwards. The right-hander admitted that he had trouble keeping his pitching shoulder loose, an issue that recently put him on the disabled list for 35 games. After that long layoff, Samardzija insisted he felt great. Clearly he does not, and the Giants have to decide when he’ll make his next start, or if he even will. 

“We’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about what we think is best,” Bochy said. “I’ll talk to Jeff on how he felt and how he feels tomorrow. He wants to be out there, but you can tell he was a little off tonight.”

Samardzija backed that point, answering a question about his health by talking about how much fun he’s having with this team and how he wants to contribute. But the Giants do not have much margin for error, and the first six innings Saturday seemed to indicate an intriguing choice moving forward. 

Samardzija gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in four innings, and only an impressive Steven Duggar catch in the gap kept it from being worse. Derek Holland, the man waiting in the wings, struck out the first five hitters he faced while throwing two scoreless innings of relief. 

Samardzija threw just 29 of 55 pitches for strikes and got three swings-and-misses. Holland got eight in much more limited time, throwing 19 of 26 pitches for strikes. Samardzija is known as the flamethrower, but his fastball maxed out at just 92.5 mph and he averaged around 90 mph with the pitch, which is 94-95 when most effective. Holland threw his fastest pitch of the season, a 94.7 mph fastball to Matt Olson, and averaged 93.3 mph with his heater. 

The timing lines up well for the Giants if they're ready to make a change. They have four days off, then three in Oakland, where Samardzija certainly would not be asked to pitch. After that, there’s an off day. If the Giants want to get creative or give Samardzija an extended breather, now is the time. Given his diminished velocity and lack of command, it’s apparent something needs to be done. 

“It’s a process right now,” Samardzija said. “(The shoulder) didn’t warm up quite the way we wanted it to. You go out there and do what you can do with what you’ve got. I’m not making excuses.”

Samardzija did keep the Giants in the game, and they had a shot even in the ninth. Blake Treinen, whose sinker is as nasty as it gets, walked a pair with two outs, but Brandon Crawford struck out. The inning was missing one component. Brandon Belt would have been due up second, but he was ejected after the fourth for arguing a check-swing call. Belt had been rung up by third base umpire Greg Gibson in the bottom of the inning on a questionable call. He argued as he took his position in the top of the fifth. Bochy said he would talk to Belt. 

“At some point, you’ve got to let it go,” he said. “Once he went out there and started arguing again, you’re going to get thrown out. That can’t happen in a game like this.”

Watson, Giants blow late lead in one-run loss to A's

Watson, Giants blow late lead in one-run loss to A's

SAN FRANCISCO — Tony Watson picked a bad night to have a bad night. 

With the Giants riding momentum into the late innings Saturday, Watson gave up a two-run shot to Oakland’s Mark Canha. The blast, which landed two-thirds of the way up the left field bleachers on a cold and foggy night, was the difference. 

The Giants lost 4-3 on the second night of the Bay Bridge Series. They tried to make a comeback off unhittable closer Blake Treinen in the ninth, getting a pair of two-out walks, but Brandon Crawford struck out to end the game. The teams have split the first two games of this six-game series. Here's what you need to know... 

—- Jeff Samardzija is clearly still not right. His fastball maxed out at 92.5 mph and averaged 90 mph, a big step down from his return from the disabled list. Of the 55 pitches Samardzija threw in four innings, only 29 were strikes. The Giants and Samardzija claim his shoulder is fine. That’s hard to believe when watching him pitch. 

—- The Giants have a decision to make. After Samardzija’s rough start, Derek Holland entered and struck out the first five A’s he faced. Holland ended up pitching two shutout innings, with eight swinging strikes. Samardzija got three swinging strikes in his four innings. 

—- With two on and no outs in the second, Dustin Fowler hit a liner to left-center that’s a two-run double at just about any point over the past five years. But Steven Duggar is now in center field, and he easily chased the ball down in the gap. The play had a catch probability of just 32 percent. 

—- Ray Black was as nasty as it gets while stranding two in the seventh. He hit 100 mph to Khris Davis and then struck him out with an 87 mph slider. Matt Chapman also went down on the slider, one pitch after waving at a fastball that clocked in at 100.8 mph. 

—- Yusmeiro Petit: 2 2/3 relief innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 strikeouts. Some things never change.