Astros GM Ed Wade revealed to the media Tuesday that relief pitcher Brandon Lyon
had a small cyst in his right shoulder drained two weeks ago and won’t be back to full strength by the time pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
The Astros detected the cyst in the initial MRI they gave Lyon before he inked a three-year, $15 million contract in early December. It seemed like a minor issue at the time, but the problem grew and Lyon finally told the club of his increasing discomfort last month.
“The follow-up MRI showed it had grown to the size of 1 1/2 grapes,”
Wade told MLB.com on Tuesday. “They aspirated the fluid out of it and Brandon went home and
began his regular throwing program.”
The ‘Stros are hoping Lyon will be ready by Opening Day. He had a 2.86 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 57/31 K/BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings last year for the Tigers and is expected to begin the 2010 season as the Astros’ closer.
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.