Flores joins SF at start of spring
Prospect Cyr stands out in first workout
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. >> Position players are still a few days away from reporting to the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale, but the new clubhouse is already filling up.
The Giants have invited more than 70 players to camp this spring and that now includes infielder Wilmer Flores, who was officially added to the roster on Wednesday.
Flores and the Giants agreed to terms on a two-year deal with a club option for 2022 last week, but the contract wasn’t finalized until Wednesday. One of the reasons the Giants waited to put the finishing touches on the deal is because the team needed to wait until the day of its first workout to be able to place players on the 60-day injured list.
The Giants didn’t have to designate anyone for assignment to
clear a roster spot for Flores as they opted to place reliever Reyes Moronta on the injured list. Moronta is in Scottsdale and recovering from shoulder surgery after suffering an injury late last season that will likely keep him out until August.
With Flores due in camp soon, here are four other things we learned on the first day of spring workouts.
ANOTHER VETERAN PITCHER JOINS THE FOLD >> The Giants signed former A’s starter Trevor Cahill to a minor league deal Wednesday and are optimistic Cahill can find a role on a staff that has a long list of pitchers competing for jobs.
Cahill, 31, is familiar with Giants pitching coach Andrew Bailey who played with him in Oakland and coached him last season when the righthander was a member of the Angels.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler noted Wednesday that Cahill isn’t far removed from a strong 2018 season with the A’s when he posted a 3.76 ERA over 110 innings.
It’s too soon to know what Cahill’s role will be with the Giants, but Kapler said the organization has targeted pitchers who will be flexible enough to move back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen as needed. With expanded rosters and a three-batter minimum for pitchers coming to the majors in 2020, a pitcher such as Cahill who can throw two-to-three innings at a time could provide good value as a long reliever.
DAY ONE STANDOUTS >> Right-hander Johnny Cueto won’t throw his first bullpen of the spring until today, but fellow veteran Jeff Samardzija was among the group that hit the mound on the Giants practice fields on Wednesday.
Kapler said he was pleased with the intensity and energy Samardzija brought to his bullpen and hopes the younger pitchers on the Giants staff will follow Samardzija’s lead this spring.
Samardzija said Tuesday he feels much healthier entering this spring than he did a season ago and admitted he was wondering if he would have trouble “getting out of the gates” last year as he worked his way back from a serious shoulder injury.
Kapler also highlighted the work of right-handed relief prospect Tyler Cyr, who impressed Bailey with the changes he’s made to his cutter. Cyr, 26, finished last season with a 1.97 ERA in 50 1/3 innings, most of which came with Double-A Richmond.
The catching group is small, but Kapler made note of how veteran Buster Posey was using his time off during bullpen sessions to teach younger catchers Joey Bart, Chad Tromp and Ricardo Genoves about his positioning behind the plate. Genoves, 20, is a well-regarded prospect in the Giants system with big power potential who received an invitation to camp after Aramis Garcia underwent hip surgery.
BART CURIOUS HOW ELECTRONIC STRIKE ZONE WILL WORK >> Bart, the franchise’s top prospect and the No. 2 overall draft choice in MLB in 2018, is healthy and eager to work his way up to the big leagues this year after he battled a pair of hand injuries last season.
The Georgia Tech product missed six-plus weeks early in the year with Class A San Jose after he suffered a fractured hand when he was hit by a pitch. The Giants sent Bart to the Arizona Fall League for more at-bats at the end of the year and he experienced déjà vu when he suffered another broken bone in his hand following a hit by pitch.
Bart was in the Fall League long enough to gain experience with the electronic strike zone that will be coming to spring training. The catcher says MLB has a long way to go to ensure the technology creates a fair zone.
“I think they definitely have some fine-tuning to that,” Bart said. “Some of that stuff is not really even competitive that are called strikes. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m glad I got a jumpstart to it so I know what to expect. But it’s definitely going to be a lot harder for hitters.”
Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto warms up during spring training on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Giants catcher Buster Posey, right, jumps in the air as he warms up with teammates during spring training workouts on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.