Andrew Suarez quietly has put together an impressive spring training for the Giants in Scottsdale. And the left-hander is willing to play any role manager Gabe Kapler might ask of him.
"It doesn't matter," Suarez said Sunday to KNBR's Marty Lurie when asked if he prefers to start or be a reliever. "Whatever I can do to help the team out, that's all I'm gonna worry about. For now, I'm just trying to stay healthy and continue a strong spring."
Suarez, 27, has allowed only two earned runs (a two-run homer) over 6 2/3 innings this spring. He also has recorded nine strikeouts and only one walk while appearing in three games, with one as a starter and two as a reliever.
The former Giants second-round draft pick made 29 starts as a rookie in 2018 when he had a 4.49 ERA over 160 1/3 innings. Last season, however, he took a step back with a 5.79 ERA and only started two games.
While the Giants have been preaching defensive versatility this spring, Kapler likes that he can use Suarez in multiple ways as well.
"He gives us confidence that he can do both (roles)," Kapler said to reporters on Thursday. "In a perfect world we could use him in short bursts and kind of use him in pockets of a lineup where there are several lefties, but I don't think we have to. It's nice to have a guy who can bounce back and forth potentially between the rotation and the bullpen.
"He's demonstrating that he can get right-handed hitters now, and if he does that successfully over a long period of time you could see him being valuable in both roles."
As Suarez looks for a bounce-back season, the Giants are asking him to throw more four-seam fastballs and use his changeup against right-handed hitters. He has focused heavily on his command, too, something he struggled with a bit last season.
"This year, I've just been working on my command for my slider and changeup, keep it more consistent," Suarez said to Lurie. "And my fastball as well. Every year you gotta keep working and that's what I've been doing. Like you said too, keeping hitters off-balance. I've just been mixing my pitches more often ... yeah, I think mixing it up a bit more has been helping."
If Suarez can continue to get right-handed hitters out more often, he can be an intriguing option for Kapler either as a starter or reliever. Entering his third season in the bigs, the lefty just wants to be trusted with the ball in his hands.