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Giants FAQ: Details on the upcoming season

@mi_guardado
June 24, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a three-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Giants are finally gearing up for a return to baseball. Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it has implemented a 60-game regular season that is slated to begin on July 23-24. The development means the Giants will

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a three-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Giants are finally gearing up for a return to baseball.

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that it has implemented a 60-game regular season that is slated to begin on July 23-24.

The development means the Giants will soon take the field under new manager Gabe Kapler, who will be looking to steer the club back into contention after three consecutive losing seasons. 2020 was expected to be another rebuilding year for the Giants, but the shortened season could prove to be an equalizer and make for an exciting summer in San Francisco.

Here’s a primer on the Giants’ outlook for the 2020 MLB season:

MLB announces 2020 regular season

When will camp start, and where?

The Giants are expected to hold Spring Training 2.0 at Oracle Park, with players set to report to training camp by July 1.

Many players had already been holding informal workouts in preparation for the resumption of the 2020 season. Arizona-based players had been allowed to access the facilities at Scottsdale Stadium in recent weeks, though the complex was shuttered on Friday after one visitor and a family member exhibited coronavirus symptoms. The visitor, along with approximately 20 other people who had been at the facility, underwent testing, which came back negative, according to the Giants.

When is Opening Day?

Opening Day is scheduled for July 23-24. MLB has submitted a proposed 60-game schedule to the MLB Players Association to review, though it has not been finalized yet.

Which teams will be on the schedule?

To minimize travel, the Giants will play the bulk of their games against the National League West (40, or 10 against each division opponent: the Dodgers, D-backs, Padres and Rockies) and the rest against the American League West, which includes the A’s, Angels, Astros, Mariners and Rangers.

How are the Giants’ injured players doing?

Three players who were nursing injuries at the time of the shutdown in March are now expected to be ready for Opening Day: Pablo Sandoval (Tommy John surgery), Tony Watson (left shoulder tightness) and Tyler Anderson (left knee surgery).

Reyes Moronta (Tommy John) and Aramis Garcia (right hip surgery) are still recovering, but they could potentially return to the Giants in August or September. Tyler Beede (Tommy John) is currently the only player who is expected to miss the entire 2020 campaign.

FAQ: All you need to know about 2020 season

What are some competitions to watch when camp resumes?

The first iteration of Spring Training featured a few intriguing position battles for the Giants, though the tenor of those competitions figures to change now due to expanded rosters.

To help ease players into competition, each club will have a 30-man roster for the first two weeks, 28 for the next two weeks, and 26 for the remainder of the season. Teams will also submit lists of 60 players eligible to play in 2020 -- a player pool consisting of the 40-man roster plus 20 more players.

The Giants still have a bit of a logjam at second base, where non-roster invitee Yolmer Sánchez, Mauricio Dubón, Wilmer Flores and Donovan Solano were all competing for at-bats. Still, Dubón is expected to shift between the infield and the outfield and take on more of a super-utility role this year, which could help free up playing time for others at second.

The injury to Garcia left non-roster invitees Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman as the two frontrunners to back up Buster Posey in March. Top prospect Joey Bart was not viewed as a candidate for the Opening Day roster back then, but the Giants could now reverse course and carry the 23-year-old catcher on their roster to give him the opportunity to continue his development in this abridged season.

Who will serve as the DH?

The Giants have several candidates for the DH spot, including Hunter Pence and Alex Dickerson, who were expected to form a platoon in left field. Given their recent injury histories, Pence and Dickerson should both benefit from the universal DH and could have an easier time staying healthy with more breaks from playing the field. With Evan Longoria expected to draw the majority of starts at third base, Sandoval could also make appearances at DH.

Another option would be non-roster invitee Darin Ruf, who emerged as a standout during Spring Training but didn’t have a clear path to the Opening Day roster with Brandon Belt already at first base.

How will the roster rules affect the Giants?

Expect the Giants to get creative in terms of how they construct and deploy their pitching staff, especially early in the season. Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly and Logan Webb are projected to be the club’s top five starters, but with a short ramp-up period, the Giants are already thinking of ways to help ease the initial workload for pitchers.

“We may not even have a five-man rotation,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said last week on the Giants’ Chalk Talk @ Home. “We may have tandem guys, we may have to do some unconventional things with a pitching staff to get through nine innings a day early on in the season. The other thing we’re going to have to factor in is it’s going to be a sprint; we’re not going to have as many off-days on the schedule as we usually do. That may factor into the pitching staff as well.”

How can I watch the games?

Out-of-market Giants games can be streamed LIVE on MLB.TV on your favorite supported devices.

How can I listen?

All Giants games are expected to be broadcast on the Giants flagship station KNBR (English) 680 AM. Every San Francisco broadcast can be listened to LIVE online or on the go with MLB Audio.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.