SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants outfielder Steven Duggar got ready to come off the Injured List last week, the coaching staff kept a close eye on the way he was running and swinging the bat in pre-game workouts. But manager Bruce Bochy was also looking at something else.
Duggar has had trouble keeping weight on in his first full big league season, so Bochy was happy to see him bulk up a bit as he missed time with a lower back strain.
"I told him to follow me around and he won't have any problems (adding weight)," Bochy joked.
For the 25-year-old center fielder, the scale provides one of many numbers to worry about as he tries to solidify a full-time job. Duggar came into camp weighing around 200 pounds, but right before the end of spring training, he got sick and lost 10 pounds in two days. That was a tough blow for a player who goes all-out on the field and covers plenty of ground every night in center. Bochy thought Duggar also may have lost some weight over the first three months because of the stress associated with being a big league starter. The end result was that Duggar got down to about 183 pounds at some point. He was back to 192 when he left for Triple-A Sacramento last week.
"I've been trying to get some weight back," he said. "I feel really good right now."
The Giants want Duggar to get back to feeling positive vibes in the batter's box, too, and on Wednesday they ended his rehab assignment and optioned him to Triple-A. It's unclear when the Opening Day leadoff hitter will be back, and Bochy admitted that the team is pretty set in the outfield right now with Kevin Pillar in center and two platoons in the corners. Duggar's return is not imminent.
Duggar had a .277 on-base percentage and .343 slugging percentage when he got hurt and Bochy noted it's a bit surprising that he has just one stolen base. Among other things, Duggar was instructed to work on his jumps and reads while in Triple-A.
"He's a guy that should steal more bases," Bochy said.
The staff also wants Duggar to work on getting better plate coverage, particularly as counts get deeper. He's 5-for-16 since returning to Triple-A, with a homer, double, triple and four strikeouts.
The Giants still view Duggar as a big part of their future, and he's easily their best defensive outfielder. A goal in the second half should be to find out where he's really at as a hitter, but for now he's getting time to reset in the middle of a long season.
"This gives him a chance to catch his breath and get it back," Bochy said. "Get some swings down there and get back here."