Giants spring training Day 1: Cueto's arrival delayed, Bumgarner's contract

Giants spring training Day 1: Cueto's arrival delayed, Bumgarner's contract

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Johnny Cueto eased his way into big league camp last spring as he tried to recover from a long 2015 postseason with the Kansas City Royals. In Year 2 with the Giants, Cueto will again be delayed in letting loose on the mound. 

Cueto won't report until later in the week, the Giants said, as he stayed back in the Dominican Republic to tend to his ailing father. The Giants expect Cueto to miss the first two or three days of workouts. 

The rest of what should be a very strong rotation arrived in the clubhouse Monday, the day pitchers and catchers reported. Matt Cain and Jeff Samardzija live in the area and Matt Moore had a short trip after his first FanFest. But Madison Bumgarner was seen for the first time since Game 4 of the NLDS, and he made his rounds, offering bear hugs to longtime teammates. Bumgarner, who is back to the huge-beard look, said he had a "quiet offseason." 

He watched most of the postseason on TV, noting with a smile that, "I sure would have liked to have been there." He liked what he saw in December, when the Giants signed Mark Melancon. "He's the complete package when it comes to a closer," Bumgarner said. There was a rumor that Bumgarner would participate in the World Baseball Classic, but Bumgarner said the timing wasn't right. It is something he would like to do, however. 

As for the big Bumgarner story, he said there have been no recent contract discussions. The Giants have Bumgarner under team control through 2019, and while both sides would like to hammer out a big extension at some point, it's unlikely it happens this spring. 

STOCK RISING: Today is like the first day of school, as players, team employees and beat writers do a whole lot of hand-shaking and ask over and over again, "How was the offseason?" One thing that did stand out in my informal discussions with guys was how many mentioned how much they like Nick Hundley, the new backup catcher. He apparently made quite the impression on teammates and team employees at FanFest.

STOCK FALLING: The idea to expand the footprint of Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants had briefly considered purchasing an open lot behind the bullpens and building some sort of addition to the facility, but it ultimately didn't make sense. The lot is now being turned into condos. 

ICYMI: The main story on Day 1: Cain is ready to fight for his rotation spot.

FAMILIAR FACE: The Giants will see plenty of Gregor Blanco this season, starting in the spring. The Diamondbacks work out about 10 minutes away in North Scottsdale. Cain said it'll be weird facing the guy who saved his perfect game. 

"I might have to hit him a few times," he cracked. "He was fun to have around. He was such a bridge from the American guys to the Latin guys."

It'll be interesting to see who takes that role. Blanco was fluent in English and made himself a big part of things like the clubhouse's fantasy football league, but he also was a mentor for the younger players who were still learning the language. Santiago Casilla was, too. 

QUOTABLE: "Which way is the field?" -- One of the many veterans in Giants camp for the first time. Melancon and Hundley were the only free agent additions to the 40-man roster, but there are still a ton of new faces around when you add up the veteran non-roster invitees, prospects, and players who were acquired in the middle of last season. 

Giants place Melancon on DL, make series of roster moves

Giants place Melancon on DL, make series of roster moves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mark Melancon's outing Tuesday night was one of his best of a rough year. The momentum didn't last long. 

Melancon was placed on the disabled list Wednesday morning with the same right pronator strain that cost him 12 games in May. To help out a pitching staff that covered 14 innings Tuesday, the Giants called starter Dan Slania up from Double-A. 

Melancon struck out two in Tuesday's win. After a shaky start to his season, he has three straight scoreless outings, with just one hit allowed and three strikeouts. 

"He threw great last night, had good stuff," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he showed up and he could really feel it (today). We need to get this behind us."

Bochy said he hopes Melancon is back when his 10 days on the DL are up, but that seems very, very optimistic. Melancon is going for an MRI, and given the team's record, there's no reason for him to rush back. 

In the meantime, Sam Dyson, designated for assignment by the Rangers just a few weeks ago, is the team's closer. Dyson has been sharp since coming to San Francisco and he threw well the previous two games. He is not expected to be available Wednesday because of the heavy recent workload. Hunter Strickland could fill in for a day. 

Slania, is a hulking 25-year-old right-hander who was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason after a big 2016. Listed at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Slania was moved from the bullpen to rotation last season and promptly posted a 1.48 ERA in 10 starts. He was promoted to Triple-A this season but struggled and was sent back to Richmond. Slania has a 6.44 ERA in 15 starts this year but the Giants were short on options. 

Tyler Beede, the likely first choice, threw eight innings for Sacramento on Monday and would not have been available today. Joan Gregorio is on the disabled list with a back injury that will cost him at least a month. Slania is here to help a tired bullpen, and it's likely another move will come this weekend, when the Giants also have to activate Eduardo Nuñez. For now, Bochy said the staff is hoping to get a look at Slania and see if there's a tweak that can be made at the big league level.

Down on the Farm: Now healthy, Steven Duggar joining San Jose Giants

duggar-us.jpg
USATSI

Down on the Farm: Now healthy, Steven Duggar joining San Jose Giants

Madison Bumgarner pitched in his first rehab game to a bunch of terrified teenagers in the Arizona Rookie League on Sunday, making one poor soul sweat tears through his batting gloves and toss his bat into Monday.

While Bumgarner being back on the hill in a game was the biggest news, there was another name to know on the Arizona Rookie League Giants that day. 

The plan is for one of the Giants’ top prospects, Steven Duggar, to join the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A on Wednesday, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. He went hitless in three at-bats in the Arizona Rookie League while walking twice in his first two games of the season after dealing with a flexor strain in his forearm that kept him out for an extended period, plus hamstring tightness. 

Duggar, a 23-year-old center fielder, is ranked as the Giants’ No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 10 by Baseball America. 

The Giants’ sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Clemson is the franchise’s closest center fielder to the major leagues. Ever since the draft he’s answered the call at every challenge handed to him. 

In 2016, Duggar excelled in San Jose and in Double-A Richmond after earning a promotion. 

Duggar batted .284 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage while hitting nine home runs in 70 games for San Jose. Though his power fell in Richmond’s pitcher’s park to only one more home run, Duggar kept on hitting at Double-A. He slashed .321/.391/.432 with 78 hits in 60 games.

Duggar joined the Giants for his first big-league camp this spring training and impressed at the plate. The switch-hitter went 4-for-12 with a double and two stolen bases in 11 games. He even showed a keen eye at the plate, walking four times to help his .500 on-base percentage. 

San Jose is now the home of the Giants’ top two center field prospects in Duggar and Bryan Reynolds. In his last four games, Reynolds has been on fire at the plate, hitting .500 (10-for-20) with eight RBI. It will be interesting to see how two key pieces to the Giants’ future fit in the same outfield. Duggar played primarily in right field with San Jose last season — 60 games to five in center — but then Richmond penciled him exclusively in center field. Reynolds has played 43 games in center, 11 in right and two in left field this year with San Jose.

If it weren’t for his injuries Duggar sustained in the spring, he most likely would have started off the season in Triple-A Sacramento and could have easily found his way to San Francisco’s revolving door of outfielders. Expect him to join Sacramento’s outfield after not too long in San Jose. With the front office taking a hard look at their young players, it would be nice to see Duggar earn a September call-up for the Giants as the team continues to evaluate their future options in the outfield. 

Around The Horn 

—  Jae-Gyun Hwang is officially with the Giants. The former star in Korea has an opt-out in his contract on July 1 and the Giants decided it was time to see how his bat transfers to the majors. Hwang hit .287/.333/.476 for Sacramento in 68 games and knocked his seventh and final Triple-A home run in his last game with the team. 

— Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede tossed his best game of the season on Monday night. After coming off a performance in which he allowed seven earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings pitched, Beede went a season-high eight innings where he only allowed two earned runs — off two solo shots — and struck out seven batter to two walks. 

— Giants top catching prospect Aramis Garcia has gone 3-for-7 in San Jose’s last two games. All three hits went over the fence, giving him 11 home runs on the season.