The Rays just announced that Jeremy Hellickson was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue. Chris Archer will be called up from Triple-A Durham to make his major league debut tomorrow night against the Nationals.
Hellickson was knocked around for a career-high eight runs on nine hits (including three home runs) last Thursday against the Mets. The poor outing caused his ERA to jump from 2.65 to 3.45 on the year.
The good news for the Rays is that the situation doesn’t sound all that serious, as Hellickson told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he’s only dealing with “a little fatigue” and doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort in the shoulder. The hope is that he’ll only have to miss two starts.
As for Archer, he was acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal last January along with Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld. The 23-year-old right-hander has a 4.81 ERA and 90/45 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings this season at the Triple-A level. He has struggled with command at times, averaging 5.2 BB/9 in parts of seven seasons in the minors, but he gets lots of swings and misses with his low-to-mid 90s heat and his slider is considered a plus-pitch.
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.