Three weeks ago the Twins claimed Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers and gave him the fourth outfielder job, sending Ben Revere back to Triple-A for some additional seasoning.
Thomas homered in his second at-bat for Minnesota … and then went 3-for-26 with 16 strikeouts, and today the Twins designated him for assignment while claiming a new backup outfielder, Erik Komatsu, off waivers from the Cardinals.
St. Louis selected Komatsu from Washington in the Rule 5 draft and before that the Nationals acquired him from the Brewers for Jerry Hairston, so this is the 24-year-old’s fourth team in about 10 months. It’s also worth noting that the Twins had the No. 2 pick in that Rule 5 draft and passed on Komatsu to take Terry Doyle from the White Sox, only to offer him back in mid-March.
Komatsu doesn’t project as a regular, but he can play all three outfield spots and has good speed with a .389 career on-base percentage in the minors. He’ll fill the same role as Thomas.
Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.
Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.
The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.
This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”