Giants hope healthy Luciano is poised for impactful 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When you watch the Giants go through their spring workouts, there’s an inescapable feeling that a big class of homegrown talent is finally about to break through.
Kyle Harrison was the most-watched player in camp from the first day and Casey Schmitt has been a standout since games started. Vaun Brown got his first taste of big league life, and the Giants kept Luis Matos around longer than most, in part because of how strong his approach was at the plate. Older prospects like Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck look ready for a real shot in the Majors, and Grant McCray, Keaton Winn and others have gotten their feet wet.
But the player who will potentially be the best of them all has mostly done his work on back fields.
Marco Luciano was diagnosed with a lower back stress fracture after getting pulled from Winter Ball and the Giants played it very safe in the rehab process, but Luciano now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The rehab went as planned, with Luciano joining full-squad workouts before he was optioned back to minor league camp. On Monday, he faced 2022 second-rounder Carson Whisenhunt in a live BP session at Papago Park, taking another step toward his return to games.
The Giants are now optimistic that Luciano will be ready for the Double-A season, and when his time in big league camp came to an end, manager Gabe Kapler reminded everyone that prospects of his caliber can move quickly.
“We feel like he has a chance to make an impact at the Major League level as soon as this season and a lot of that is going to be based on if he’s able to keep this momentum,” Kapler said. “We feel really good about where he is physically and I shared that with him. Mentally, emotionally, same thing, and we talked about this. He’s just in a really positive frame of mind and happy to be out on a baseball field.”
If you didn’t know that Luciano was being held back, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. He was all smiles throughout camp, attacking the tedious rehab process that started with day after day of taking grounders without being allowed to throw. Having two back issues in a year is scary for any prospect, but Luciano has quickly put that behind him. The Giants are anxious to see what he can do now that he’s back to full health.
“You start to wonder, when is the last time he really has been 100 percent?” farm director Kyle Haines…
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