Cubs sign rehabbing Scott Baker to one-year deal

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Scott Baker’s comeback from Tommy John surgery will take place in Chicago, as the Cubs announced that they’ve signed the rehabbing right-hander to a one-year deal. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the contract is worth $5.5 million in guaranteed money, with another $1.5 million in potential incentives.

Baker has spent his entire career with the Twins after being a second-round pick in 2003, emerging as a solid mid-rotation starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios and questionable durability. He missed all of this year following elbow surgery and is no sure thing to be ready for Opening Day, but if healthy he should provide good value.

Baker had a 3.14 ERA and 123/32 K/BB ratio in 135 innings in 2011, giving him a 3.98 ERA in 134 starts since joining the Twins’ rotation full time in 2007.

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.