Lee, Soler to miss Giants' Cactus League opener vs. Cubs

Lee, Soler to miss Giants' Cactus League opener vs. Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants fans who have been itching to see Jung Hoo Lee dig in as the leadoff hitter will have to wait a bit longer.

Lee won't play in Saturday's Cactus League opener at Scottsdale Stadium because of very minor side soreness that is expected to sideline him for a couple of days. Manager Bob Melvin said he has no concerns, and that Lee would hit off a tee on Friday to see if he's feeling better.

"It's minor, but at this point in time in camp, we don't want to mess with it," Melvin said Friday. "I think he's a day or two from being back in the lineup."

The Giants will be without their two big lineup additions for their opener. Melvin wants to be very careful with Jorge Soler and said he won't make his Giants debut until Monday when he's scheduled to DH. The lineup still does have plenty of familiar faces, though, starting with pitcher Logan Webb.

In order, Melvin is going with Austin Slater (DH), Wilmer Flores (1B), Michael Conforto (LF), J.D. Davis (3B), Thairo Estrada (2B), Patrick Bailey (C), Heliot Ramos (RF), Marco Luciano (SS) and Luis Matos (CF).

Ramos turning heads

Ramos fell out of favor last season and got just 56 at-bats at the big-league level, but he has been an early standout in live batting practice sessions. On the first day, Ramos smoked a ball off a net that was protecting anyone standing near third base. A day later he crushed a long homer to center.

"He's been the star as far as hitting live pitching," Melvin said. "Now, he went back to the Caribbean Series and played a few games there, too, but it's been impressive to see. Look, I haven't been around him and I obviously looked at the body of work and where he is in his career here, but if someone is coming in and trying to make an impact, he's off to a really good start."

It's been seven years since the Giants selected Ramos in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft, but he's still just 24 years old. Melvin said Ramos would get plenty of reps this spring with Slater (elbow) and Mike Yastrzemski (shoulder impingement) on the mend. The outfield is short on right-handed power, which could open the door to Ramos or Tyler Fitzgerald.

Szapucki a possible option this season

The front office had high hopes for lefty Thomas Szapucki when he was picked up in the Darin Ruf-Davis heist two years ago, and he got off to a good start, posting a 1.98 ERA in 10 relief appearances after the trade. But Szapucki never felt right last spring and ended up having surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, with a rib and two small muscles getting removed to help ease the discomfort.

Szapucki is back in camp as a non-roster invitee and said he feels great physically. He'll miss some time rehabbing at the start of the season but should be an option at some point in the first half for a staff that is short on left-handed relievers. Oh, and he also came away from the whole thing with an odd souvenir. Doctors let him keep the rib that was removed, although he's not quite sure what to do with it.

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