Former Atlanta Braves pitcher begins rehab assignment with SF Giants

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The SF Giants Triple-A affiliate might soon receive some reinforcements. Veteran pitcher Sean Newcomb has been sent to the San Jose Giants to begin a rehab assignment according to the team's transaction log.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher begins rehab assignment with SF Giants

Newcomb recorded a scoreless outing with two strikeouts in his first appearance with San Jose on Saturday night. The left-handed pitcher signed a minor-league deal with San Francisco prior to the start of spring training. This included a camp invite.

However, no update was given on his status and he was reassigned in the first round of cuts this spring. Newcomb began the year on the injured list and is inching closer to a return.

Oftentimes, rehab assignments for minor leaguers do not get much attention, but Newcomb was an established pitcher earlier in his career. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the first round of the 2014 draft out the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut.

The 29-year-old was once considered a top prospect, ranking as high as No. 21 according to MLB.Com prior to the start of the 2016 season. Not surprisingly, he was in demand and the Atlanta Braves swung a five-player trade in 2015 to acquire Newcomb in a move that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels.

This proved to be a win-win trade for both sides as Simmons continued to excel with the Angels while Newcomb established himself as a quality arm. He debuted with the Braves in 2017, posting a 4.32 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 1.57 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, and a 1.89 SO/W ratio in 19 starts.

There were some encouraging trends, including the above-average strikeout rate. The control needed to improve, which he began to demonstrate in the ensuing two seasons. From 2018 - 2019, Newcomb was at his best as he tallied a 3.68 ERA in 86 appearances for the Braves.

However, his performance cratered after sustaining a concussion from a batted ball that off of the bat of J.T. Realmuto midway through the 2019 season. Since the start of 2020, Newcomb has struggled to the tune of a 7.45 ERA while still posting healthy strikeout numbers (9.9 K/9), but it is possible that the concussion had lingering effects.

It might be too early to speculate how he could help the Giants this season if he is fully healthy. However, the Giants did take a chance on a pair of oft-injured, established pitchers last year in Shelby Miller and Scott Alexander. Both helped them down the stretch last year with Alexander becoming a key arm in this year's bullpen.