Happy Memorial Day everyone. Hope you have a nice day off and, as you’re having that day off, hope you take the time to think about why you’re getting it.
From a baseball perspective, we’ll no doubt hear and read stories today about the major leaguers who served in the military. A good place to start with this is over at The Platoon Advantage, where The Common Man has some stories of some of the less-famous ballplayers who served out nation heroically and don’t tend to get a lot of general recognition for it.
We all know about Bob Feller and Ted Williams, and nothing can be taken away from their legacies as both ballplayers and servicemen. But we’d all probably do well to think about Gabby Street and Al Bumbry too.
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.