Steven Duggar’s season was fried and scrambled from the very start.
A center fielder whom the Giants list at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds said he normally enters seasons about 200-205, allowing a bit of space for him to naturally drop some weight as the year and workload drags on.
He felt healthy until “right before camp broke,” Duggar said Tuesday, on the taxi squad for the game against the Cubs at Oracle Park. “I had some bad eggs — literal eggs. I was eating breakfast, everything felt fine. And then at the end of that day I just had the worst stomachache. Three or four days after that I couldn’t hold anything down.”
He said he dropped about 10 pounds, and the entire season has seen him in a prolonged fight with the scale. It is difficult to gain weight when so much of your job entails conditioning work.
He bottomed out at 183, “a weight I haven’t seen since I was in high school,” he said.
The 25-year-old struggled in the majors, showing very strong defense but his bat never coming around, slashing .234/.277/.343 in 67 games. He said he could feel the difference; balls would have to be hit harder to have a chance at clearing the fence. He slugged four home runs in 248 at-bats.
“Then again there was a lot of other things involved, too,” said Duggar, called up as insurance for Alex Dickerson’s troublesome back. “Mentally I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind, either.”
He got down on himself as his struggles worsened, and a lower-back injury in mid-June set him back again, unheard of until now. By the time he was able to return, the Giants had a new outfield alignment. His job is to be ready when a chance opens up again, and the Giants tasked him with packing the pounds on.
For now, he’s trying to force his own opportunity, dominating in the hitter friendly PCL, slashing .333/.425/.540 with Triple-A Sacramento.
He said he’s hovering around 190 pounds, close to where he wants to be. He told some of his Sacramento teammates that “as crazy as it might seem, I think maybe an option was maybe long term probably good for me,” Duggar said. “I got back to myself.”
He’s found himself as the Giants have. They took off without him, vaulting from an also-ran to a playoff contender.
“It’s tough” in the minors, Duggar said. “It’s tough for me to get here. I just tried to take it as a positive, keep it moving. I’m in a really good place right now.”