Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t look anything like his usual dominant self on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks last Friday, giving up six runs — five earned — over six innings while striking out just one and sitting between 89-91 mph on the radar gun.
It turns out Jimenez aggravated a cuticle of his right thumb, a condition that caused him to miss a start during the early part of the Cactus League schedule.
While his thumb has improved with treatment, Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post today the right-hander is no sure thing to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Pirates.
“We’re still monitoring the situation,” said Tracy this afternoon. “His finger looks much, much better, there’s no question about it. And yet we don’t want to push it to the point where we take major steps backwards just by trying to play catch.”
The Rockies could either push Jimenez back to Saturday or skip him altogether. Jorge De La Rosa would likely take his turn in the rotation.
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.