Bryce Eldridge

Giants top 2023 pick Eldridge to focus on first base, won't pitch

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When the Giants tried to add Shohei Ohtani in the offseason, they already had a pair of two-way players in their organization. Two months later, Ohtani is a Dodger, and both two-way Giants have chosen a different path.

Reggie Crawford said earlier this spring that he will stick to pitching and Giants general manager Pete Putila confirmed on Tuesday that Bryce Eldridge only will play first base this year.

The Giants drafted both as two-way first-rounders in back to back years, but evaluators always felt Crawford would become a pitcher and Eldridge would develop into a hitter. Eldridge’s pro debut last summer was so promising that the Giants never even put him on the mound after taking him No. 16 overall in 2023.

“It’s a pretty special mix of ingredients with regards to size but also a quick, compact swing,” Putila said.

Eldridge only is 19, but the Giants feel he can move quickly and this gives him the best chance. He played 31 games in rookie ball and Low-A last summer and posted a .905 OPS with six homers while putting up some of the best exit velocity numbers in his draft class.

Eldridge played right field last year, but he’s already 6-foot-7 and 223 pounds. Putila said Eldridge is athletic enough to play outfield down the line but for now they want him focused on developing at the plate.

“We’re super excited about the bat,” he said.

Top prospects update

Two of this regime’s first-round picks — Patrick Bailey and Crawford — are in big league camp, while three others will be at the Papago Park complex in minor league camp.

Hunter Bishop has no restrictions as he comes back from Tommy John surgery and will join Eldridge in workouts there. The news isn’t as positive on Will Bednar; Putila said the oft-injured right-hander is “still working his way back” and the Giants would have an update in the coming days.

One other minor league injury note: Outfielder Vaun Brown is “a full go” after playing just 59 games last season. It was a bit surprising to see Brown left off the non-roster invite list after he was in camp last spring, but the Giants felt they had enough outfielders in camp.

Winn injury update

Right-hander Keaton Winn will be shut down for a few days after feeling elbow soreness. The Giants are describing the discomfort as mild and an MRI came back fully clean, so they're confident Winn won't be set back too much. He currently is set to be their No. 4 starter.

The plan is to go with a very young rotation, with Kyle Harrison, Jordan Hicks, Winn and Tristan Beck behind Logan Webb. The Giants also feel prospects Mason Black, Carson Whisenhunt and Kai-Wei Teng are ready for the big leagues when needed. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain on the market, but neither seems close to signing.

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