Johan Santana impresses

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Good news all around for the Mets this week. The Madoff suit settled, Terry Collins hasn’t blown a gasket at anyone and now Johan Santana has turned in a nice start against the defending World Series champs.

Santana held the Cardinals to one run in six innings and struck out six, didn’t walk anyone, and used just 68 pitches in six innings against a regular season-worthy Cardinals’ lineup. His velocity was off, but hell, results are results, no matter how crazy we all want to fixate on velocity. he had not been striking out a lot of guys so far this spring, so his K total today was a good sign.

There were some noises last week that Santana may pitch on Opening Day. Even if he doesn’t, the fact that he’s going six innings and pitching effectively now, when just a few weeks ago there was every reason to think he would start the season on the DL, is pretty great news.

 

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.