Kyuji Fujikawa close to making decision, Angels considered front-runners

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Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa has visited with multiple MLB teams over the past couple of weeks. It shouldn’t be long before we know where he’ll pitch stateside.

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Fujikawa is nearing a decision on where to sign and adds that the Angels are seen as the front-runners. The 32-year-old right-hander has also been linked to the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Cubs and Dodgers.

Fujikawa has been one of the most dominant relievers in Japan for the past few years, compiling a 1.36 ERA and 202 saves with the Hanshin Tigers since 2007. He’s coming off a season where he posted a 1.32 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 47 2/3 innings.

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.