According to Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched Wandy Rodriguez from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Diamondbacks due to discomfort in his left elbow. Bud Norris will move up a day to make the start in his place.
Rodriguez complained of some soreness following Sunday’s outing against the Blue Jays and felt continued discomfort during a bullpen session today. Astros general manager Ed Wade said that the 32-year-old southpaw is scheduled for an MRI exam tomorrow.
“Until we get the MRI, we won’t know if we’re looking at him just missing (Saturday) and getting pushed back,” Wade said. “Somebody is going to have to start on Tuesday. Once we get the MRI, we’ll get a better sense and feel of whether he’s going to be in position to throw a bullpen on Sunday and get ready for Tuesday.”
Rodriguez is 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 53/16 K/BB ratio over his first 10 starts this season. He has made at least 30 starts in four out of the last five seasons.
One would think that an extended absence could lead to top prospect right-hander Jordan Lyles being called up from the minor leagues. Lyles, 20, has a 3.20 ERA over his first 10 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, averaging 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts.
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.