LOS ANGELES – One day after Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Steven Duggar would stay at the center, the second-year player found himself in right field.
Mental confidence gathered after the game on Tuesday and decided that Kevin Pillar, acquired in the morning, would get most of the time in center field. Duggar will still have starts there, and he will always play there when Pillar is out, but for now he is changing position. Bochy said the decision was made because Pillar has not played many of the corners of his career and Duggar did it recently in the minor leagues.
"I think the transition is a bit easier for Duggar from the bat," Bochy said.
Pillar has made 579 major league starts in center field, compared to only 55 on the left and seven on the right. He has been a tremendous defender and finalist in Golden Glove, so there is certainly no downgrade for Duggar, who could reach that level by himself. Duggar has only been a center fielder since he was called last season, but made 135 appearances in right field in the minors and played there in 2017.
"I'm open to that," said Duggar. "It will be good here and very funny … I'm excited about that."
This is the rare champagne problem for the Giants, since either of them would be an above-average option anywhere in the gardens. But the decision is still a bit curious simply because Duggar is, or was, prepared as the central gardener of the future. Pillar is eligible for free agency after 2020 and could be negotiated or not tendered before that date.[RELATED: Watch Pillar’s arrival at Dodger Stadium]
One would think that the Giants would want Duggar to settle down now, but they decided to go with the veteran. Duggar said all the right thing on Wednesday.
"If a ball falls (between us), it was supposed to be a blow," he said.