Erick Aybar’s agent to talk contract extension with Angels

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Back in January the Angels were said to be interested in long-term contract extensions with impending free agent middle infielders Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar.

They got a deal done with Kendrick, signing the second baseman for $33.5 million over four years, but talks with Aybar have stalled. Until now perhaps, as Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reports that Aybar’s agent is in Arizona to meet “face-to-face” with general manager Jerry Dipoto this week.

Aybar avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.075 million contract and can hit the open market next offseason as a 29-year-old free agent at a position where the pickings are usually very slim, so getting him to sign long term may be tough at this point.

He also hit .279 with a .743 OPS last season, posting new career-highs in homers (10), doubles (33), runs (71), RBIs (59), and steals (30).

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.