PITTSBURGH — About half a dozen Pirates have an inside joke going in their clubhouse here at PNC Park.
“We’ve got some forever Giants floating around here,” cracked Tyler Beede, the latest addition to what is quickly becoming Giants East.
Beede joined fellow pitchers Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton and catcher Tyler Heineman as San Francisco castaways who landed with the Pirates when he was designated for assignment at the end of April. Outfielder Bryan Reynolds, traded away as a prospect, has also developed into an undisputed star, while another one of Beede’s bullpen mates, David Bednar, is the older brother of the Giants’ first-round pick last year, Will Bednar.
“It’s been an easy transition just because there’s a lot of familiar faces,” Beede said. “It’s good to see guys who’ve been over there and can relate to my scenario being DFA’d and all that.”
Beede, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2014, had his tenure with his first professional organization come to an end when rosters were cut down from 28 to 26 players at the end of April. Beede was out of options and had been mostly relegated to a mop-up role in the Giants’ bullpen.
“In a sense I saw it coming. The writing was on the wall,” Beede said. “I don’t want to say I was expecting it because I didn’t just want to let myself wait around expecting it to happen, but I knew the scenario.”
One night earlier this series, Beede reconnected with a few former teammates over dinner.
Logan Webb and Tyler Rogers were there, both of whom’s weddings Beede officiated over the past offseason, as well as starter Alex Cobb and mental health coach Harvey Martin.
“It was just good to reconnect and see him again and make sure he’s doing well,” said Rogers, who also caught up with Stratton this series. “He seems happy. Hopefully he can build some momentum here in Pittsburgh. I’m sure we’ll stay in touch for the rest of our lives.”
Beede’s career in San Francisco was derailed when he felt a twinge in his elbow during spring training in 2020, ultimately requiring Tommy John surgery. After starting 22 games, with a 5.08 ERA, as a rookie in 2019, Beede was fighting for a rotation spot before he was forced to undergo the intensive rehab that follows the procedure.
When he returned to the mound briefly in 2021 and then in spring this year, he couldn’t throw enough strikes to carve out a role in a fairly established San Francisco pitching staff.
He made six appearances out of the Giants bullpen, posting a 4.66 ERA, before getting designated for assignment. But since arriving in Pittsburgh, Beede has performed well in a swingman role out of the Pirates’ bullpen, with a 2.57 ERA over 14 innings in eight appearances.
He’s subbed in a two-seamer for his four-seamer and a slider for his curveball, though the same command issues exist, with an equal number of walks to strikeouts (6). He’s also moved out to the suburbs after only living in the city in San Francisco.
One definite positive: Pittsburgh is a whole lot closer to home — and family — for the Massachusetts native. Another perk: playing on the East Coast, Beede’s games end right around when Giants’ games are starting, allowing him to tune in occasionally.
“I think it’s been a great spot for me to go at this point in my career,” Beede said. “I keep tabs on Webby. … Obviously those guys are still guys I root for, just not during this series.”
Father’s Day blues
When Webb walked into the visitor’s clubhouse Sunday morning, he fist-bumped Rogers and reliever Zack Littell, who were both celebrating their first Father’s Day since having children.
The day was a more somber occasion for Darin Ruf, who took some time away from the team earlier this month after he unexpectedly lost his dad, Bill. Manager Gabe Kapler, who got tattoo of a rose on his left hand this offseason honoring his late father, Michael, understood how difficult the first Father’s Day after losing your dad can be.
“I’ve thought more about Darin than I have about anything else today,” Kapler said. “When somebody has lost somebody close to them, like Darin has, it makes you feel for them on a day like today.
“It’s also a day to celebrate no matter when you lost your father. For me, that was a few years ago now, but I always see it as a celebration and opportunity to remember how he shaped me as a man and a human being.”
Gabe Kapler told us on opening day he added this new tattoo to honor his late father, Michael, who died in December 2020. pic.twitter.com/iUWGm2ATkX
— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) April 12, 2022
Kapler has cited his father’s influence for, among other things, the social justice causes about which he’s been outspoken, most recently with his protests against gun violence.
“He was an explorer and a nonconformist and someone who challenged authority,” Kapler said. “One of the questions I often get asked is who were the baseball influences in my life … none of them had nearly the influence that my dad had.”