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Ferguson impresses with glove in ST debut

Rule 5 pick seeking roster spot; Stratton, Blach, Bart appear in Cactus League opener
@mi_guardado
February 23, 2019

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson is expected to play plenty of center field for the Giants as Steven Duggar continues to rehab his surgically repaired left shoulder. It didn’t take long for the 26-year-old to make an impression, as he delivered a nice diving catch to

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson is expected to play plenty of center field for the Giants as Steven Duggar continues to rehab his surgically repaired left shoulder.

It didn’t take long for the 26-year-old to make an impression, as he delivered a nice diving catch to rob Jonathan Lucroy of a hit in the first inning of the Giants’ 10-3 loss to the Angels in Saturday’s Cactus League opener at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

With runners on first and second base and no outs, Lucroy flared a curveball from right-hander Chris Stratton to shallow center field, but Ferguson came running in and snagged it for the first out of the inning.

“That was awesome,” Stratton said. “Definitely took away a hit there. It was a good curveball that he kind of just poked out there. That could change the inning and make it a lot worse.”

Ferguson will be vying for a spot in the Giants’ outfield mix this spring, and the club plans to give him a long look because of the rules that govern Rule 5 selections. If Ferguson is not kept on the 25-man roster for the entire regular season, he must be offered back to the Astros.

“I just have to be ready to play all three outfield spots whenever I’m needed, and then offensively, just try to do what I do, which is try to get on base as much as I can,” Ferguson said. “They selected me in the Rule 5 for the player I am. They’re not trying to change me. They want me to do what I’ve done in the past and bring that to this team, hopefully.”

Stratton’s day

Stratton, who is competing for a rotation spot this spring, yielded two runs and needed 27 pitches to get through one inning in his first Cactus League start for the Giants.

“Just got to get a little better with my fastball command,” Stratton said. “It’s obviously really early. I made some pitches that I wanted to make, and they didn’t take some swings on them. I’m glad I hit my spot, but it’d be nice for them to swing. I can’t get deep into counts like that, but it is very early.”

Stephen Vogt excited to compete for backup catcher spot

Blach flashes new pitch

Left-hander Ty Blach followed Stratton and cruised through two scoreless innings against the Angels. Manager Bruce Bochy said Blach unveiled his new slider on Saturday, which he hopes to develop into a weapon against left-handed hitters.

“He threw it today, and he was letting it go,” Bochy said. “I think that’s a pitch that could be big for him, particularly against lefties. It was good to see him use it and have some success with it.”

Bart debuts

Top Giants prospect Joey Bart got his first taste of Cactus League action on Saturday, pinch-hitting for designated hitter Henry Ramos in the seventh inning. Bart struck out looking in his first at-bat before collecting an infield single in the ninth.

“I wanted to get him out there and get that over with today,” Bochy said. “It’s not going to be a priority as far as making this club, I’ll be honest, but I want Joey to get some time and enjoy this experience.”

Worth noting

• Relievers Travis Bergen, Pat Venditte and Derek Law each worked a scoreless inning for the Giants. Venditte, a switch-pitcher, threw exclusively from the right side in a 1-2-3 seventh.

• Giants hitters saw a limited amount of live batting practice this week because of rainy weather, and the rust seemed to show on Saturday, as they mustered only one hit through the first seven innings.

“They were off with the timing a little bit, early in the spring, but it’s good to get out here,” Bochy said. “It’s good to get the games started. I wanted to get as many guys in there today, especially with the way the game was going, just to get their debuts out of the way.”

Up next

The Giants will host the Cubs on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. PT at Scottsdale Stadium. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will make his Cactus League debut and start opposite Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood. Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are also expected to be in the Giants’ lineup.

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