ATLANTA -- Giants third baseman Matt Duffy has begun to complement his offensive productivity with defensive prowess.
Eyewitnesses can testify to Duffy's increasing excellence with the glove. He handled several difficult grounders so flawlessly on the baked infield in the Giants' previous series at Texas that they attracted little or no attention. That is, he made them look too easy. Duffy also has mastered rushing in for topped, slowly hit grounders and making off-balance yet accurate throws to first base.
Conventional statistics don't reflect Duffy's defensive aptitude. He entered Tuesday ranked fifth among National League third basemen with a .965 fielding percentage. However, Duffy fares better based on modern metrics. Statistical composites on Fangraphs.com rank him second overall among NL third basemen behind Colorado's Nolan Arenado. Duffy also ranks third in the league in range factor per game, according to baseball-reference.com.
Duffy's probably no threat to unseat Arenado as the NL's Gold Glove winner at his position. But like his predecessor, Pablo Sandoval, he's defending well enough to gain attention.
• The aftermath of Kelby Tomlinson's first Major League hit was almost as memorable as the event itself. Tomlinson said he received approximately 50 text messages from relatives and friends congratulating him on his pinch-hit single in Monday's night's 12th inning. Tomlinson came around to score the tiebreaking run, but Atlanta leapfrogged the Giants to prevail, 9-8.
Among all the messages that deluged Tomlinson, the one he least expected came from a teammate of his at Howard Junior College in Texas.
"I hadn't heard from him since I played with him," Tomlinson said. "I don't know how he got my phone number."
• Though catcher Andrew Susac said he has good and bad days with the sprained right thumb that has put him on the disabled list, he could be ready to test himself more rigorously. Having practiced his swing in cages with coaches throwing to him, Susac said he might be able to start taking batting practice on the field as early as Wednesday or Thursday.
• Buster Posey's next home run will be the 100th of his career. He's poised to become the 17th catcher in Major League history with at least 100 homers in his first seven seasons. The only Giant to accomplish this feat was Tom Haller, who totaled 107 from 1961-67.