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Why Giants called up Steven Duggar and not Jaylin Davis

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have been in need of another outfielder for virtually the entire season, and for a fourth time they turned to Steven Duggar.

Upon placing Luis Basabe on the injured list with a grade one right hamstring strain on Wednesday, they again called up the sure-handed outfielder who has struggled with his bat and inserted him ninth in the lineup and in right field.

The Giants are set up to face righty starters the rest of the way, which places a greater need on lefty hitting, which is part of the rationale behind Duggar getting the nod and not Jaylin Davis.

Duggar has ridden the satellite camp-big league club elevator all year, with his bat never allowing him to stay at the top. He has just three hits in 28 at-bats (.107) in 16 games, but he plays an excellent outfield for a unit that can use all the help it can get. After Basabe went down Tuesday, their outfield was all natural infielders in Daniel Robertson, Mauricio Dubon and Darin Ruf.

While Duggar has received more chances, Davis has been buried since starting the year 2-for-12 with six strikeouts. His swing-and-miss tendency is still there, Kapler said, which has been a major focus in Sacramento.

“That continues to give us pause and [is] an adjustment that Jaylin needs to make if he’s going to be a successful major league hitter,” Kapler said of the 26-year-old, whose power and speed are evident but as are the whiffs.

The Giants have drooled over the tools since acquiring Davis at last year’s trade deadline, and Kapler was sure to state that if Davis’ swing can more consistently find the ball, the ceiling is hard to reach.

“It’s not about hitting the ball hard. It’s not about speed or throwing arm or any specific tool. It’s actually just, very simply put, about making more consistent contact,” Kapler said over Zoom before Wednesday’s game against the Rockies at Oracle Park. “And so we will continue to view Jaylin as an option because the tools are so strong. He’s such a high-character guy, and we really do want him and are looking for that outcome.”

While the Giants turned to one lefty outfielder in Duggar, they hope they will be able to return another Wednesday in Mike Yastrzemski.

The club’s best player has missed five straight games with a mild calf strain but was able to run on a treadmill Tuesday. Kapler called Yastrzemski pinch-hitting “a possibility,” but needed to see how he came through agility and outfield work before the contest.

Trevor Gott (right elbow inflammation) is unlikely to pitch again this year, Kapler said.

The Giants have yet to announce the 40-player pool they submitted to MLB, the players who are quarantining in preparation for a potential playoff run. NBC Sports reported Reyes Moronta was not included. From social media posts, it appear righty Tyler Cyr is in the pool.


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