More news that is not Cliff Lee-related:
Hundreds of baseball bats are broken by pro baseball players over the course of a season in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The bits & pieces don’t go to waste, however, instead being reborn into cool chopsticks carrying NPB team names, colors and logos.
They’re called “Kattobashi,” a play on words from “KATTOBASE!!,” Japanese for “make a big hit” which is a term often heard (and heard often) at the ballpark. Also heard often is the crack of the bat – not only against the stitched horsehide sphere.
I don’t have much to say about this apart from “cool.” Also, I want to know if Japanese newspapers include the price of Kattobashi chopsticks in the calculations for their bogus, trend-piece “what it costs to take a family to the ballpark” stories. You know, like the U.S. ones in which they include eight hot dogs, four large sodas, four boxes of popcorn, two replica jerseys, two giant foam “we’re number one!” fingers and tickets along the rail right next to the dugout, all before lamenting that a family can’t afford to go to the ballpark anymore.
You know, the essentials.
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.