SAN FRANCISCO - Steven Duggar raced back to the Coliseum wall in the third inning Sunday, timed his reach, and pulled a Matt Joyce home run back onto the field. Did he also pull an opening day roster spot down on that play?
Manager Bruce Bochy wasn't willing to say, repeating a well-worn line: "He's still here." The Giants expect to make a decision on Duggar and others on Monday night, and the call in the outfield could be the toughest of them all. If Duggar is not deemed ready, he's about as close as it gets, and there are many in the organization - including on the pitching staff - clamoring for his glove in center field. On the other hand, the Giants will face plenty of left-handed starters the first two weeks of the season, and Austin Jackson would get the majority of those starts in center.
Regardless, Duggar appears destined to spend most of the 2018 season at AT&T Park. He came into camp with all eyes on him, and while a late skid has dropped his average to .245, he has a .842 OPS and has shown pop (four homers).
Before the first game of the Bay Bridge Series, Duggar talked about his spring, and what comes next:
How do you feel about what you accomplished this spring?
"I think I've done some good things. There were some things that I wanted to work on that I did get better at. One was base-hit bunting, that was something I wanted to do. I've worked on a variety of things with Blanco in the outfield as far as pre-pitch routines and trying to get out of breaks as soon as possible. With Craw and Panik, I just kind of asked a few questions because obviously those two hit from the left side and I feel like Craw and I do some similar things. And obviously I continue to work on the baserunning side of things. Every day I'm just trying to get a little bit better."
Do you feel the power coming at the plate?
"I don't think that I'm a guy that's going to hit a bunch of homers but for a few good swings early, to kind of see some balls leave, I felt pretty good about some of those. I think overall the at-bats have been pretty good. There are obviously a few that I would like to have back, but I'm just trying to find that consistency and understanding the situation and how the game is going and what I need to do depending on the at-bat. It might change in certain situations. I'm trying to be better in terms of awareness."
How have you handled the pressure of fighting for a job?
"For me, nothing has changed. I continue to want to learn from these guys and see how they go about their business and just enjoy the opportunity, man. Is there pressure? There's pressure with anything that you do, but I don't think it's necessarily pressure for me, man. I just try to enjoy the opportunity and enjoy taking the field every day and being in the same clubhouse with these guys. It's been a lot of fun. I'm trying to soak up every second of it."
Have you allowed yourself to think about potentially digging in against Clayton Kershaw on Thursday?
"I've certainly visualized it. You put yourself in a position and a situation before it happens and visually just kind of walk through it. That would be something that would be a dream come true. But I truly do take it one day at a time and show up at the field and whoever we see today is who we're going to see today, and we flip the script tomorrow. Every day is something new."
If you start in the minors, what do you want to focus on?
"Continuing to build off the things that we've worked on on the bunting side. That could be a big part of my game so I'll continue to stay on top of that. Offensively, I would continue to work on things that Craw and Panik and Pablo and I have talked about. And defensively just continue to work on what Gregor and A-Jax and Cutch have talked about. You continue to work on it so that it becomes natural."