GAUSMAN DEBUTS IN LOSS TO WHITE SOX
Right-handed pitcher tosses 2 scoreless innings for Giants; Sandoval to play Friday
GLENDALE, ARIZ. >> February isn’t a month in which dramatic walk-offs dominate the highlight reels, but the Giants and White Sox provided some late intrigue anyway on Tuesday.
With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, White Sox batter Seby Zavala drilled a single up the middle to center fielder Heliot Ramos. The Giants’ No. 2 prospect gathered
the ball and uncorked a strong throw to the plate, but it reached catcher Tyler Heineman’s glove a split-second too late.
A nicely-executed slide from White Sox outfielder Adam Engel led Chicago to a 4-3 win and dropped the Giants to 2-2 in Cactus League play, but the team has more important things to worry about than plays at the plate at this point in the year.
Manager Gabe Kapler said postgame that infielder Pablo Sandoval will make his spring debut on Friday night at Scottsdale Stadium as a Giants split-squad lineup hosts the Rockies. His first at-bats will come fewer than seven months after undergoing seasonending Tommy John surgery and while the Giants aren’t sure when
Sandoval will be ready to appear in the field, he’s already playing catch and ahead of schedule in his recovery process.
The switch-hitting Sandoval is healthy enough to hit from both sides of the plate and will play regardless of who starts on the mound for Colorado on Friday. The Giants will send another player authoring a Tommy John comeback story to the mound against the Rockies as Kapler confirmed Johnny
Cueto will start at Scottsdale Stadium.
Veteran Jeff Samardzija is lined up to pitch Wednesday at home against the Brewers while Tyler Beede and Logan Webb will both pitch on Thursday in Peoria against the Mariners.
The Giants will begin cycling through the rotation again on Friday as Dereck Rodríguez and Andrew Suárez will face the Royals in a split-squad in Surprise.
Kapler said the Giants don’t have a target date set for when veteran free-agent signee Hunter Pence will appear in his first game, but indicated the team is looking at finding a place for Pence in a lineup early next week. GAUSMAN SPLITS WHITE SOX >> The player with the richest contract Farhan Zaidi has given to a Giants player made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday
at Camelback Ranch.
Starter Kevin Gausman, who signed a one-year, $9 million deal during the Winter Meetings, worked two strong innings against a White Sox lineup featuring regulars including shortstop Tim Anderson, outfield phenom Eloy Jimenez and first baseman José Abreu. Gausman consistently hit 94 miles per hour with his fastball, touched 96 on the radar gun and mixed in heavy usage of his splitter, which is the right-hander’s primary secondary pitch.
“Whether it’s 92 some days or 96-97 some days, it
just depends to be honest,” Gausman said. “But more than anything, I feel good, I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel good and it’s a progression in spring training.”
Despite struggling a bit with his command of his splitter, Gausman got some ugly swings on the pitch, which he threw 41 percent of the time last season.
Gausman used to throw a slider along with his fourseamer and splitter, but Statcast data indicated he practically abandoned the pitch during a stint in the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen. With guidance from pitching coach Andrew Bailey, Gausman said he’s throwing his slider again and believes it can be an effective offering for him this year.
“I threw some really good ones today and that’s one thing I’ve been working on with Bailey and all of those guys,” Gausman said. “I got a groundball out of it today and threw a couple of strikes and so no damage was done.”
The Giants’ Kevin Gausman throws a pitch during the first inning against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Ariz., on Tuesday.
The Giants’ Alex Dickerson fouls a ball during the first inning of his team’s Cactus League game versus the White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix on Tuesday.