Giants spring training Day 24: Cueto feels good after long throwing session

Giants spring training Day 24: Cueto feels good after long throwing session

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have never had any questions about Johnny Cueto's durability, but there were some slight concerns when he missed the early weeks of camp while tending to his ill father. Coaches were curious to see how Cueto would look in person. They're no longer curious. 

"How'd you like that?!" one coach cracked to reporters after Cueto threw 65 pitches in a live BP session.

Yes, Cueto is the same as he ever was. The man who threw five complete games last season barely even took a breather while ramping up the pitch count. Cueto took one break, grabbing water from pitching coach Dave Righetti. Then he went back to quick-pitching prospects, finishing off the marathon session with a shimmy. 

Cueto said he feels great physically. Through interpreter Erwin Higueros, he said he hasn’t ruled out the WBC. He will make two starts down here before making any decision.

“I want to pitch (but) I want to see how I feel,” he said. “If I get to make two starts and I feel good, then maybe I’ll go to the WBC.”

Cueto said he’ll have to see how his father is doing, because he doesn’t want to leave him so soon after a hospital visit. It seems the only way he could play is if the Dominican Republic advances all the way, in which case he could fly to Los Angeles for the semifinals or final. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants won 6-5 on Chris Marrero's second walk-off homer of the spring. Marrero has four homers, leading the team by a pair. 

"I think he likes Arizona," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's throwing out good at-bats and doing a good job. We're excited to have him. He's a threat, that's what you love about him. Even with two strikes, he still got a good swing off."

That last part is key. Today was the first really hot day down in Arizona and the ball is starting to fly, so guys are going to start piling up numbers. Bochy is looking at the quality of the at-bats, and Marrero has been on-point even when making outs. He hasn't played much in the outfield, but he showed off a strong arm during pre-game drills Wednesday. He's doing all he can do at the moment. 

Hunter Pence had a triple and Michael Morse and Jarrett Parker drove in runs as the Giants edged a very talented Puerto Rico squad. If you pick just a handful of WBC games to watch, check out Puerto Rico. The Lindor-Baez-Correa infield is absurd, and Lindor and Baez teamed up early in Wednesday's game for a slick double play. 

CALLING HIS SHOT: Morse said he was going to hit a homer. And then he hit a homer. Here's an update on where he stands as the Giants hit their first off day of the spring. 

ICYMI: An interview with Conor Gillaspie was the latest podcast. You can stream it here. There will be one more podcast this week, so subscribe here (and maybe leave a review?)

ANTHONY REYES' TRAINER'S ROOM: All is good. Eduardo Nuñez was cleared to play third base Wednesday and Conor Gillaspie is also fine after a bout of sore arm.

QUOTABLE: "I don't fumble. I don't jump on fumbles, either." -- Jeff Samardzija, during a conversation about pitcher defense. 

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Giants-Cubs coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

After missing the last two games with a sprained left thumb, Denard Span is back at the top of the Giants lineup Wednesday in Chicago.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Matt Moore (L) P

Chicago Cubs:
1. Javier Baez (R) 2B
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) LF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Miguel Montero (L) C
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

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AP

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

Tyler Beede stepped on the hill at Raley Field in Sacramento on Tuesday night one year older and came away with one more win after the River Cats defeated the Memphis Redbirds, 6-2. 

Beede, now 24 years old, didn’t churn out his most impressive or dominant performance, but he limited hits and found a way to earn his third win of the year. On the night, he completed 5 1/3 innings pitched and only allowed four hits and two earned runs. He did, however, walk more batters (3) than strikeouts (2), which is his lowest strikeout total in a game this season. 

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising when looking at Beede’s trends this season on the mound. In his nine starts for the River Cats, he is walking slightly more batters than last year when he was in Double-A Richmond, and he’s significantly striking out less batters. Through 49 innings pitched, which leads the River Cats, Beede is issuing 3.31 walks per nine innings (3.24 BB/9 in 2016) while only striking out 5.88 batters per nine, compared to 8.25 K/9 last year. 

Instead, the Giants’ top pitching prospect is turning to ground balls, setting him up smarter for the future. After forcing seven groundouts to three flyouts on Tuesday, he is now rolling ground balls 56.5 percent of the time, an increase from 47.9 percent last season. 

Sacramento plays in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. All teams outside of the River Cats, who are last in the league with a team batting average of .238, are averaging just over five runs per game and almost one homer every game. Beede, isn’t letting the ball fly through air and has only allowed three homers off of him this season. This plays well for his and the Giants’ future. 

Whenever Beede finds his way to San Francisco, he doesn’t need to rely on his mid-90s fastball to get outs. The strikeouts will come, but life will be much easier watching a Gold Glove infield scoop up grounders for years to come. 

While Beede waits his turn to join the bigs, he’s showing maturity on the hill and stayed undefeated at home on a birthday night to remember. 

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ top power prospect, Chris Shaw, has been called up from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento. Shaw, 23, played only first base in the minors before this season, but has transitioned to left field. He played 18 games at first and 18 games at left for the Flying Squirrels, registering no errors in the outfield. 

— Kelby Tomlinson is working in center field while with the River Cats. Insider Alex Pavlovic spoke to Bruce Bochy about the move

— Bryan Reynolds, the Giants’ top pick in 2016, finished a home run short of the cycle on Sunday. He went 5-for-6 with four RBI in the San Jose Giants’ win. On the season, Reynolds now has 14 multi-hit games in 38 games played. Here’s the breakdown: Six two-hit games, seven three-hit games and one five-hit game.