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Giants sign another lefty with so many ties to the organization



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE — He has a background with Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler.

And Mike Yastrzemski. And Tyler Beede. And Sam Selman.

Phil Pfeifer will fit in with the Giants organization.

The Giants brought in another former Dodgers prospect who has overlapped with Zaidi and Kapler in LA and another Vanderbilt product, teammates with that trio (and just missing Curt Casali’s time at Vandy, too), when they signed Pfeifer to a minor league deal with a major league camp invite on Friday.

The 28-year-old lefty joins an organization teeming with southpaws and overflowing with players awaiting their chance. Pfeifer, a third-round pick in 2015, was traded in June 2016 to the Braves, with whom he had several impressive minor league seasons but never got the call-up. Across three different levels that topped out at Triple-A in 2019, he posted a 2.97 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 133 1/3 innings.

He did not get a chance to prove himself in the minors last year and was recently released by Atlanta. He is catching on with an organization that has plenty of familiar faces.

He and Kapler reminisced about their Dodger days before Friday’s game.

“One of the issues that Phil had when we were together with the Dodgers was, he had difficulty throwing strikes,” Kapler said after the 6-2 loss to the Reds at Scottsdale Stadium. “He really found that in 2019 with the Braves. Was still able to be kind of that funky-delivery guy with good stuff that misses bats, but he was able to couple that with strike-throwing.”

Giants pitchers struck out 14 Reds, and Reds pitchers struck out 16 Giants in another 3-hour, 29-minute spring game.

Reyes Moronta‘s stuff again looked better, his fastball sitting about 94 mph, according to the stadium gun. He struggled with command, though, especially of his slider, and he walked two and gave up a run before getting pulled.

Scott Kazmir, who has appeared in two games and pitched one inning in each, will get his first start Sunday against the Dodgers. The Giants are off Saturday.

Jake McGee pitched a clean inning and struck out two, upping his spring total to five innings while allowing one hit. If he is not the Giants’ closer, it’s only because Kapler does not want to be boxed in to the label.

Asked if he was ready to say McGee is his closer, Kapler answered, “I’m ready to say we’re excited about having Jake McGee throw really important innings for us this year.”

LaMonte Wade Jr. went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk and is hitting .200 this spring. He also showed off a good arm from right field. If Brandon Belt is not ready to start the year, Jason Vosler appears to be leading the first-base competition.

Marco Luciano‘s first extra-base hit of the spring came in the ninth, a double to right that bounced off the wall. The 19-year-old super prospect is 3-for-20 in camp.

A fun thing about having a park that has fans but is not filled with fans is that voices can be heard clearly. As can cheers, which came abundantly from one section once Caleb Baragar was announced. The lefty’s family (or maybe friends) apparently now have gotten to see him in person.