Flores joins SF at start of spring

Prospect Cyr stands out in first work­out

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - SPORTS - By Kerry Crow­ley

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.

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