Spring Training

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants swapped out a Rule 5 pick who wasn't going to make the team for one who now very well might. 

Drew Ferguson, an outfielder picked up from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 Draft, was designated for assignment Thursday to clear a roster spot for Connor Joe, a utility man who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. Joe is under the same restrictions, and given that the Giants picked him up one week from Opening Day, there seems a good chance that Farhan Zaidi will try to tuck the former Dodgers prospect onto the roster. 

Joe, 26, has moved all over throughout his minor league career, primarily playing first base, third and the outfield. As a right-handed bat with a .363 career OBP in the minors, he fits a lot of what the Giants are looking for on their bench. That also could lead to some interesting decisions next week. 

The Giants already were trying to decide how to squeeze Yangervis Solarte, Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval on the roster, with the latter two looking like tough calls. They also could try to put Joe in the outfield mix, perhaps at the expense of a player like Mac Williamson or Cameron Maybin. 

Joe had a .935 OPS with 17 homers in Double-A and Triple-A for the Dodgers organization last season. He was the sixth player selected in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, and hit .275 this spring for the Reds. 

[RELATED: Five reasons to be optimistic about the 2019 Giants]

The Giants had hoped Ferguson would fill these holes, but he had a poor spring and was not in position to make the club. The Giants would have had to offer him back to the Astros next week, with very little hope of keeping him in their system. 

To acquire Joe, the Giants traded minor league right-hander Jordan Johnson and cash considerations to the Reds. Johnson had a 4.37 ERA in 86 minor league appearances for the Giants. 

Brandon Belt reveals how he accidentally cut off half of his eyebrow

Brandon Belt reveals how he accidentally cut off half of his eyebrow

Whether it's a haircut or a new wardrobe, looking good for picture day was always a must when growing up. For Brandon Belt, a new look was a bit of an accident this year. 

The Giants first baseman arrived for photos in Scottsdale, Ariz. with something missing. Or a bit of something. Not his beard, not a haircut, but a piece of his right eyebrow. 

"Fortunately, it was right before photo day, so I'm sure it's in every single one of them," Belt said sarcastically Wednesday night to Amy G during the Giants' spring training game against the Indians. "But, it's comin' back." 

Yes, this wasn't on purpose. So how did this all happen?

Let's hear Belt's side of the story. 

"I was trimmin' my nose hairs and it had an eyebrow guard on it, so I thought I'd try it," Belt said. "You get those little stragglers every now and then. I did it on my left side. It looked a little thin so I had to even it out. Did it on my right side and chopped half my eyebrow off." 

[RELATED: Joey Bart joining Giants in 2019 halted by farm director Kyle Haines]

Mistakes happen, and memories are made. Maybe this is exactly what Belt needs to crack 20 home runs this season. 

Joey Bart joining Giants in 2019 halted by farm director Kyle Haines

Joey Bart joining Giants in 2019 halted by farm director Kyle Haines

Giants top prospect Joey Bart looks like a franchise cornerstone, and he's proving it in his first big league camp with the Giants. 

The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft is batting .368 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBI in 14 games. He's been so impressive, teammates awarded him the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp.

One anonymous scout is so high on Bart he believes the catcher can join the Giants by midseason. But, Giants farm director Kyle Haines is here to halt the hype. 

"A lot of people want to see him in San Francisco sooner rather than later, but we want to make sure we put him in a position to best grow in the minors," Haines said to MLB.com

After hitting 13 home runs in Short-Season Single-A last year, Bart's power has followed him to the desert. While his defense nothing to scoff at, the Giants want him to grow behind the dish. 

"The big thing is just to get experience because the catching position is so demanding," Haines said. "There's so much to learn, especially all of the information. We're flooding players with data and technology, so just getting exposure to the pro game, exposure to data, exposure to game strategy is important."

Bart is expected to start the season in Advanced Single-A for the San Jose Giants. One of the selling points to have him there is to learn from manager Bill Hayes, who was a long-time catching coach. 

In San Jose, Bart will get experience catching fellow Giants top prospects Sean Hjelle and Jake Wong, who were drafted behind him in the second and third rounds respectively last summer. 

[RELATED: Joey Bart needs to improve this part of his game, Mike Krukow says]

The hype is real, and the numbers are there to back it up. Expecting the 22-year-old to be in San Francisco for Bruce Bochy's final season, however, is not.