Ryan Howard expected to recover from Achilles’ tendon surgery in 5-6 months

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As Craig noted earlier, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard underwent surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles’ tendon early Wednesday morning.

Now some recovery timetables are pouring in.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Wednesday evening that Howard will be back to playing at the level he’s accustomed to within 5-6 months. That still puts the start of his 2012 season in doubt, but there were early estimates suggesting he might miss the entire year. And it appears we can now put those to rest.

Howard, 31, batted .253/.346/.488 with 33 home runs and 116 RBI in 152 regular-season games before going 2-for-21 the Phillies’ NLDS loss to the Cardinals. He’s owed $125 million over the next five seasons.

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.