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Joyce added to Giants' outfield mix

@mi_guardado
March 21, 2019

The Giants introduced a late entrant to their outfield competition Wednesday, signing veteran Matt Joyce to a Minor League deal. Joyce, who became available after being released by the Indians earlier this week, reported to Giants camp after passing a physical and played against his former team Wednesday night, going

The Giants introduced a late entrant to their outfield competition Wednesday, signing veteran Matt Joyce to a Minor League deal.

Joyce, who became available after being released by the Indians earlier this week, reported to Giants camp after passing a physical and played against his former team Wednesday night, going 1-for-3 and logging five innings in right field in the Giants’ 13-0 win at Scottsdale Stadium.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Joyce will get a look over the final week of Spring Training and will be "in the mix" to make the Opening Day roster.

"I'm going to get him in there as much as I can," Bochy said. "He's an experienced player that became available. He's in camp to see if he can help us."

Joyce, 34, endured a rough spring with the Indians, batting .185 (5-for-27) with no extra-base hits over 11 Cactus League games. He spent the last two years in Oakland, where he crushed 25 home runs and posted an .808 OPS in 2017. Hampered by a back injury, Joyce appeared in only 83 games last season and recorded a .675 OPS with seven home runs.

Joyce, a left-handed bat, doesn't satisfy the Giants' desire for another right-handed-hitting outfielder, so they are likely to continue to canvass the trade market for potential upgrades.

The Giants are projected to have Steven Duggar in center field on Opening Day, with Gerardo Parra likely getting the nod in right. Left field remains a bit unsettled, though Mac Williamson appears to be the most likely candidate, barring another acquisition. The Giants also started utility player Yangervis Solarte in left on Wednesday.

"I think it's going to be a position where two to three guys are going to get playing time out there, depending on who is pitching," Bochy said. "We can go with matchups and things like that. If somebody steps up and runs with it, that would be great, too."

Pomeranz twirls five no-hit innings

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz issued four walks but didn't allow a hit over five scoreless innings against the Indians on Wednesday. Pomeranz also looked sharp at the plate, delivering a long RBI single off the right-field wall in the second inning and drawing a walk in the fourth.

"[Jeremy Affeldt] told me I hit the longest single of Spring Training," Pomeranz said, smiling. "I'll take it."

Relievers Tony Watson, Will Smith, Nick Vincent and Steven Okert followed with a scoreless inning apiece to complete the combined shutout for the Giants.

Bats come alive

The Giants' offense broke out for 16 hits Wednesday, 10 of which went for extra bases. First baseman Brandon Belt went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and fell a triple short of a cycle.

Belt had a chance to complete the cycle in his fourth plate appearance in the sixth, but he reached on a hit-by-pitch after being struck by a curveball from Cleveland left-hander Oliver Perez.

"I fell off there at the end," Belt joked. "It's past my bedtime."

Belt, who has hit safely in each of his last eight at-bats, is batting .485 (16-for-33) with a 1.371 OPS and three home runs this spring. Bochy said Belt could slot into the Giants' lineup as the cleanup hitter during the regular season.

Roster moves

The Giants optioned right-handers Tyler Beede and Ray Black to Minor League camp Tuesday, though both are expected to contribute in the Majors throughout the year.

"The fact that they're down there, it doesn't mean they're out of sight, out of mind," Bochy said.

Beede, the Giants' first-round Draft pick in 2014, made a particularly strong impression this spring, turning heads with his upper-90s fastball, hard curveball and heightened confidence.

"He really came in with a different mindset," Bochy said. "He opened up a lot of eyes with the spring that he had, with the stuff and command. Now he just needs to carry that into his season. This guy is knocking on the door now."

Up next

Right-hander Jeff Samardzija will make his fifth Cactus League start Thursday when the Giants face the Cubs at Sloan Park at 1:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to pitch for Chicago.

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