Giants cut four, including Harrison, but all could be back soon


The message when a player gets sent to minor league camp in March almost always is a very positive one: Nice work this spring, here are some things to work on, we'll see you soon.

For four players sent out Tuesday, that last part could be particularly noteworthy. 

The Giants reassigned top prospect Kyle Harrison to minor league camp and optioned infielder Isan Díaz and pitchers Tristan Beck and Keaton Winn to the minors. All four could end up playing at the big league level this season, with Harrison poised for the most highly-anticipated Giants debut in years

Harrison, 21, didn't do what he hoped on the mound, giving up eight runs over 3 2/3 innings in his first three Cactus League appearances. But his raw stuff -- a three-pitch repertoire led by a mid-to-upper-90s fastball -- blew coaches and teammates away, and he impressed manager Gabe Kapler with his work behind the scenes. On multiple occasions, Kapler mentioned how advanced Harrison was in his approach to the weight room.

On Monday's "Giants Talk" podcast, catcher Joey Bart explained why the Giants are so excited for the left-hander's debut, expected to come at some point this summer. 

"I caught his bullpen, I faced [him in live BP], and the fastball jumps. His slider is good," Bart said. "He's got what he needs. Wherever he's going to be at this year -- hopefully he'll be up in the big leagues doing his thing -- it's just kind of recreating it and doing it over and over again and showing everyone around here that he deserves a spot wherever he lands. I'm excited about him, I really am. I think he's a really good guy, that's really what sticks out to me. I think he's got the right mindset to be in this league for a while."

Some Giants officials said this week that Harrison's spring struggles might actually be a blessing in disguise. He didn't take any lumps last year while dominating High-A and Double-A, but this spring provided a reminder that his command will have to be sharper at the higher levels. Harrison himself has said there still are too many arm-side misses, but the Giants aren't concerned. From a stuff perspective, he's just about ready for the big leagues. 

As others were building up early in camp, Harrison was in the low-to-mid 90s in early bullpen sessions. Bart said it felt harder because he has such a low release and hides the ball well. 

"The way the ball comes out of the hand, the way it spins out of his hand, is elite," Bart said. 

Harrison will start the season in Triple-A as part of a rotation that should provide much more help than in recent seasons. It will include right-hander Sean Hjelle and Beck, who showed good velocity, command and a nasty slider this spring. Winn reached Double-A last season, and with an upper-90s fastball and plus splitter, he could move quickly.

Earlier this spring, Kapler compared the class of right-handers to the Camilo Doval, Gregory Santos, Kervin Castro group that arrived in camp a couple years ago. The Giants knew back then that one of the relievers would help them in a big way, and Doval emerged. The expectation now is that one of the young right-handed starters will make an impact this season, either as rotation depth or out of the bullpen. 

"Between Tristan, Sean and Keaton Winn -- who is probably in a little bit of a different category than those guys, but he's nasty, so you can see that happening pretty quickly -- I think you can see somebody coming up and actually making starts for us," Kapler said.

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Minor league spring games started Tuesday, so the timing was right for the Giants to start cutting pitchers. On Monday, they sent relievers Sam Long and R.J. Dabovich to minor league camp. 

Of the four players cut Tuesday, the first to put on Orange and Black this season is likely to be Díaz. The 26-year-old was going to be a September call-up last season but tore his oblique. Díaz hit 23 homers in just 83 Triple-A games last year and had seven hits in 21 at-bats this spring, including a couple of homers. 

The Giants have both Díaz and Brett Wisely on their 40-man roster as left-handed-hitting middle infielders. While their big league roster is heavy on right-handed bats, they expect one of Díaz or Wisely to be the first addition when there's an infield injury. Díaz primarily has played second base while Wisely could be an option at shortstop and in center field. 

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