Cleared of murder charges, Angel Villalona drops $5 million lawsuit against Giants and rejoins organization

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Last month Angel Villalona sued the Giants for $5 million claiming that they violated the terms of his contract after he was charged with murder in 2009.

Villalona spent three months in a Dominican Republic jail after being accused of killing a 25-year-old man in a nightclub, but the charges were eventually dismissed as part of a $139,000 settlement with the victim’s family and now Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the former top prospect will settle the lawsuit with the Giants and resume playing in the minors.

Villalona received $2.1 million to sign with the Giants as a 16-year-old in 2006 and is still just 21 despite not playing since mid-2009. However, even before the murder charges his prospect stock was slipping thanks to mediocre production and a hideous 235/45 K/BB ratio in the low levels of the minors.

Giants senior vice president of communications Staci Slaughter told Schulman that Villalona will “most likely” be reinstated and report to the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic to start working his way back into game shape.

What a weird story. And there’s still no guarantee he’ll be allowed back in the United States.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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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.