Giants claim Jose Lopez from Reds; Josh Osich designated for assignment


Giants claim Jose Lopez from Reds; Josh Osich designated for assignment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a few days of uncertainty, Derek Law walked into the Giants clubhouse Tuesday morning. He was designated for assignment but cleared waivers and will remain in the organization, though as a non-roster player. 

Law's longtime teammate, Josh Osich, is now dealing with the same fate. 

Osich was designated for assignment on Tuesday afternoon to clear a roster spot for Jose Lopez, a 25-year-old right-hander claimed from the Cincinnati Reds. 

Lopez, a former sixth-round pick, has a 4.25 minor league career ERA while primarily serving as a starter. He has 474 strikeouts in 493 innings. In 2018, Lopez had a 4.47 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in Triple-A. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi likes looking at a player's prior track record, though, and Lopez had a promising 2017 campaign in Double-A, posting a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts. 

[RELATED: Bumgarner says he 'would love to stay' with Giants]

The Giants do not have much starting depth at the upper levels of the minors, and Lopez could slide right into their Triple-A rotation. What they do have a lot of is left-handed relief pitching. Osich was in camp with Will Smith, Tony Watson, Ty Blach, Pat Venditte, Steven Okert and others, and was an extreme long shot to make the roster. 

Few in the organization have better stuff than Osich, but he has had trouble with his command. In 160 major league appearances for the Giants, Osich had a 5.01 ERA. 

Q&A: Damon Minor on Giants' Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw, Aramis Garcia

Q&A: Damon Minor on Giants' Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw, Aramis Garcia

For the past two seasons — either in Triple-A Sacramento or the Arizona Fall League — Damon Minor has worked with the Giants prospects trio of Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia. In 2018, Minor saw all three of them as the River Cats’ hitting coach before each player made their major league debuts in San Francisco. 

NBC Sports Bay Area recently spoke to Minor, as the former Giants first baseman assessed each hitter’s development at the plate.

NBCS Bay Area: You’ve worked with Steven Duggar the last two years (13 games in 2017, 78 in 2018). He obviously made a big impression on the Giants this past season. What were his biggest improvements the last two years at the plate? 

Minor: I think it was just the adjustments to the leagues. He had to adjust to Triple-A pitching with guys who can command the ball better, and learning the strike zone. Obviously when he went up to the big leagues, it was another challenge for him to learn, and Alonzo [Powell] and Schuey did a good job of honing in on him really knowing the strike zone, and staying in the strike zone.

It was just unfortunate that he got hurt because he was starting to break through with it. 

[RELATED: Why Giants assistant hitting coach sent Steven Duggar film of Nick Markakis]

Ideally, you’d want him as your long-term lead-off hitter. Can he be that guy for the Giants? 

The best thing about Duggar is that I think with his ability, he can lead off, he can go to the 2-hole or 3-hole depending on how hot he gets, he can drop down to hit in front of the pitcher, too. He learned how to hit a little bit in front of the pitcher, so that flexibility that you give a manager, that’s really, really good for him.

Does Chris Shaw have some of the best natural power you’ve seen? 

Yes. He has someone of the best natural power there comes from the left side. I was fortunate enough to play with some guys who had that power. It was good for him to go up and see what the big leagues are about.

Just like Duggar did, he just has to make those adjustments and be more of a hitter to be able to get to his power. I think with time, and as young as he is, he will [make adjustments].

[RELATED: Chris Shaw showed potential, needs more time at Triple-A]

Are there any keys you see to Shaw unlocking that power by becoming more of a pure hitter first? 

First, it comes down to getting at-bats. And then just knowing the strike zone. It’s not really a swing issues. Little tweaks here and there. It’s more timing. If you have time to recognize the pitch more often, you’ll be more consistent and on time and ready. Your swing will take care of itself, and you’ll hone in on the pitches you want to hit.

For someone like Chris Shaw, what’s the toughest part mentally after struggling right away in the majors as a top prospect? 

It happens as a young player. You go up there, and everything’s a little bigger. You got a bigger crowd, it’s the big leagues, and you’ve been striving to get there through the minor leagues. When you do, it is a bigger picture.

You just have to learn how to control the emotions and not let things get overly big for you. For him, he’s a tough kid. He’s from Boston. He’s a hockey player. The best thing about Chris Shaw is that he’s gonna find a way to figure things out. He’s not stubborn, and he’s gonna make changes accordingly to have success in the big leagues.

What was your first impression of Aramis Garcia once he made it to Triple-A? 

I was fortunate enough to work with Aramis in the Fall League when I was there last year. I’ve been seeing him work his way up from Double-A to up here the last couple weeks before he was called up. The main thing with him was not only his bat, but being a catcher and being a guy to handle a pitching staff. I think that was the most impressive thing.

It just so happens he’s a pretty good hitter as far as staying through the field, being able to drive the ball the other way, and he’s learning to pull the ball a little better. He has a really good high ceiling. 

[RELATED: Aramis Garcia flashes power, opens eyes in September]

He looks like someone who could at least a backup in the bigs sooner than later. 

And it took him a little bit of time. He’s a little bit older at 25, turning 26. But that happens with players. He stuck with it, and he’s been more aggressive. You see it as a hitting coach and what he does behind the plate. I’m happy for him. 

Going from Sacramento to AT&T Park, do you think there’s a swing or mental adjustment for players? 

Fortunately, the Sacramento field actually plays to the tendency of AT&T. It’s got some shadows to it. It’s deep in center field like AT&T, and when the sun goes down, the ball doesn’t carry. It plays fairly fair. But obviously just like anywhere, you still gotta hit and do your damage on the road, like Colorado. In the PCL, it’s Las Vegas and different places like that.

There is a different mindset [to AT&T Park], but the thing is, if you keep your mindset of going up there and staying with your plan, things will take care of itself. If you put too much pressure on yourself — I was fortunate enough to play there, and you crush some balls, and I’m not fast enough to run around even in Triples Alley. There was only one guy that made that place look small, and that was Barry [Bonds]. 

Giants prospect Tyler Beede reflects on lessons learned from 2018 season

Giants prospect Tyler Beede reflects on lessons learned from 2018 season

Tyler Beede is riding the highs and lows of baseball’s roller coaster in 2018. 

“I’d say I’m super grateful for it,” Beede said in a phone conversation. 

The 25-year-old Giants prospect made his major league debut in April but struggled in two starts, was moved to the bullpen in Triple-A, had an injury scare in July, and is now back in Sacramento with September call-up season looming. 

“The things that you learn going through the struggles of a baseball season are invaluable in terms of letting you grow, and not only on the field but your character and your morale and wanting to come back better than ever,” Beede said. 

Beede is back on the mound for the Sacramento River Cats after missing nearly three weeks. He had more of a scare than injury with the same groin that ended his season short in 2017. Rehabbing in Arizona, Beede made one hitless relief appearance in Rookie League where he struck out two and didn’t hand out any walks. 

Prior to this season, Beede had never come out of the bullpen in his professional career. He first took the hill as a reliever in Madison Bumgarner’s rehab appearance on May 26 and threw the final four innings, where he did not allow a run on two hits, four strikeouts and three walks. But in his next three starts, he walked 13 batters and allowed 11 earned runs in 12 innings. 

On June 17, Beede was moved exclusively to the bullpen. The former top prospect took the high road, knowing a change needed to be made. 

“I was completely understanding in terms of how my season was going at that point and I knew an adjustment needed to be made,” Beede said. “I’d say just hindsight wise, looking back at it, this was the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of allowing me to feel more comfortable again in terms of what I’m doing on the mound and then getting my confidence back.” 

Numbers never lie, but they also don’t tell the complete story. Beede has a 7.28 ERA as a starter in Triple-A this season and a 6.23 ERA as a reliever. He also has a a 1.69 WHIP out of the bullpen compared to 1.94 as a starter and his strikeout to walk rate is slightly better as a reliever than starter — 1.75 as a reliever, 1.13 as a starter. 

“I think numbers wise — it’s tough to look at numbers and say there’s been a huge improvement because pitching out of the ‘pen, if you give up a couple runs here and there then your ERA is just gonna stay up,” Beede said. “But in terms of just how I’m feeling and commanding my stuff and feeling confident on the mound, I feel like I’m back to that confidence I had coming out of the 2016 season when I had my best year.”

Since returning from his injury scare, Beede has eight strikeouts to two walks in 5 1/3 innings. When he first moved to the bullpen, Beede had to adjust to the mindset of a reliever. After years of pitching off his fastball and pacing himself, Beede has learned to throw the kitchen sink at the opposing team’s offense and bring his best stuff for a short stint. 

Despite finding positives mentally and physically with his change to the bullpen, Beede still envisions himself as a starter down the road. He expects to be stretched out in spring training with an opportunity to prove himself as a starter. That doesn’t mean he won’t accept an invite to the bullpen either in September or in the future for the Giants. 

“I’m comfortable doing either, and obviously if there’s an opportunity for me to be in the big leagues as a reliever, that’s obviously the opportunity I’ll take,” Beede said.

Off the field, Beede made another change by deleting his Twitter, a decision he has urged his father to join him in. Beede uses a private Instagram account to share stories of his life, but found himself swimming in the negativity of Twitter. 

“I feel like it just takes me out of my mindset where I’m playing the game for the wrong reasons and playing to please other people,” Beede said on the social platform. 

Beede made the change near the beginning of the season. The former first-round draft pick admits he read what people were writing as he struggled on the mound and found it simply didn’t benefit him mentally to get the job done. 

“I don’t think they understand we are humans and we kind of have those moments like anybody else does where we’re affected by the words of other people at times,” Beede said. “If I see something or read something, I invest in it whether I say something back or not. I usually don’t, but I obviously read it and see it. 

“You just gotta understand that people usually say things on a whim and they don’t necessarily mean it.” Beede says he does see plenty of positives with Twitter as well and could one day be back on the website. 

As September creeps on us, Beede is taking a day-by-day mindset and is focused on Sacramento, but his goal is certainly to get back to San Francisco this season. He follows the Giants every game and is always rooting for fellow Triple-A teammates who get the call to the bigs.

“If that’s something they want to do and bring me up to get experience and pitch up there for that month, that would be huge,” Beede said. “I know how beneficial it is to be up there. Not only to gain the experience of pitching in the big leagues, but to be around the guys in that atmosphere. I’m certainly hoping for that, but whether it happens or not, that’s certainly not gonna take away from how I’m feeling right now.” 

This has not been the season Beede was hoping for on the field, there’s no denying that. His 2017 season ended short by injury and once he wore a Giants jersey in 2018, he never wanted to take it off. And still, from the change on social media to the change in the bullpen, this is a year Beede would never take away. 

“I think what I learned most is that I’ve been trying to do things for other people this year instead of do it for myself in a positive sense. I want to go out there and enjoy the game and I think moving to the bullpen allowed me to find the joy for the game again with wanting to go out there and have fun,” Beede said.

“I wouldn’t take back anything from this year in the way that it’s going to get me prepared for the future, future seasons, and going forward in my life.”