A few weeks ago I questioned Dontrelle Willis’ diagnosis (and subsequent DL stint) of social anxiety disorder.
My basis? Nothing scientific or anything — I’m certainly no doctor —
just the words Willis used to describe how he felt, which didn’t sound
a thing like that which you would expect from someone suffering from an
anxiety disorder. Stuff like “I was just playing bad” and “Even when I
went on the DL, I felt fine.” Turns out I’m not the only skeptic:
While few doubt the pressure of playing at the major league level,
at least one mental-health professional raised an eyebrow at the
growing number of social anxiety disorder diagnoses.
“I’m very suspicious of that diagnosis,” said Dr. Allan Lans, a
psychiatrist who practices in New York and has worked with athletes
throughout his career, most notably as a member of the Mets’ staff.
“It’s not like catching the chickenpox; there has to be a history.”
Lans goes on to talk about how rare it would be for someone with a
Major League career path to only begin experiencing the disorder after
making the big leagues. Especially so long after making the big leagues
like Willis and Khalil Greene.
This Lans fellow is only one doctor, and sure, what one doctor says
isn’t determinative of anything, but it certainly makes me wonder about
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.