Notes: Moronta, Bishop go to alternate site

August 8th, 2020

The Giants moved a step closer to getting one of their key bullpen arms back on Friday.

was cleared to report to the Giants’ alternate training site in Sacramento, where he will continue to rehab from right shoulder surgery. Manager Gabe Kapler said Moronta is set to begin a throwing program, stoking optimism that the 27-year-old right-hander could be ready to return to the Majors before the end of the regular season.

“I think we’re actively seeking out that possibility,” Kapler said. “We’re actively pushing toward that so he becomes an option for us. We think he has enough time, but of course, we always put the health of our players first, so we won’t push him too hard or too fast.”

Moronta, who once appeared in line to become the Giants’ closer of the future, logged a 2.86 ERA over 56 appearances last year before suffering a torn labrum during an outing at Oracle Park on Aug. 31. His return could be a boon to the Giants’ bullpen, which is stocked with promising young arms but short on Major League experience at the back end. Two rookie relievers -- Rico Garcia and Caleb Baragar -- blew a late-inning lead in Thursday’s 6-4 defeat to the Rockies, sealing a series loss at Coors Field.

Tony Watson, Trevor Gott and Wandy Peralta are the most seasoned members of the relief corps, with Gott converting each of the Giants’ first three save opportunities.

“The rest of this group, they’re trying to establish themselves as Major League pitchers,” Kapler said. “They’re trying to earn and keep roles. We’ve gotten to see all of them. We haven’t leaned on just three or four arms. We’ve leaned on all of them. ... We’re going to keep trying to put those guys in positions where they can show us that they’re deserving of more opportunities. We’re going to keep evaluating them both on paper and with our eyes.”

The Giants also received good news on outfield prospect Hunter Bishop, who was added to the player pool and reported to Sacramento along with Moronta on Friday. Bishop, the club’s 2019 first-round Draft pick, was forced to miss Summer Camp after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. Players must produce two negative tests at least 24 hours apart before they are cleared to return, according to the health and safety protocols laid out by Major League Baseball.

“Bishop is definitely champing at the bit,” Kapler said. “I had some quick text exchanges with him today. I know he’s especially excited.”

Bishop, 22, isn’t expected to reach the Majors this year, as he hasn’t played above Class A Short-Season Salem-Keizer, but he will have the opportunity to log meaningful reps in Sacramento and further his development in the absence of a Minor League season.

Worth noting

• Kapler reported that outfielder Jaylin Davis, who was optioned to the alternate training site after a 2-for-12 start to the season, is showing improvements with his swing.

“There’s been some real progress made with his swing and things are trending in the right direction there,” Kapler said. “He said that he’s starting to feel more like himself and his legs are underneath him and he’s using his legs to drive the ball.”

Kapler added that catchers Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey have also been logging reps at first base to increase their positional flexibility, which has become a point of emphasis under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

• Outfielder Steven Duggar and right-hander Andrew Triggs, who were on the Giants’ five-man taxi squad, were sent back to Sacramento in separate cars on Friday. Kapler said the club wanted to make sure they continued to see action during this weekend’s three-game series against the Dodgers. The pair’s departure left three players on the taxi squad: left-hander Andrew Suárez, right-hander Dereck Rodríguez and catcher Chris Herrmann.

• Drew Smyly (left index finger strain) had an appointment with the Giants’ hand specialist on Friday. The visit “went well,” according to Kapler. Smyly is scheduled to be reevaluated after the Giants conclude their 10-game road trip and return to San Francisco next week. Sam Coonrod (right lat strain) also resumed throwing.