The Astros shall remain nameless for spring training

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Astros manager Bo Porter has deemed that no Astros jerseys shall have names on the back during spring training. Why?

“It was explained to the players exactly why,” Porter said. “The name on the front [is what] matters, and we have 25 guys that will earn the right to have the name put on the back, and that will be the 25 men that will make this ballclub. It definitely was done by design. It’s a message sent to them that it’s all about the Astros.”

Seems a little rah-rah-rah for professionals. Something I’d expect to see on a high school football team before I’d see it in the big leagues. But hey, his team and the Astros have nothing to lose.

Also not a big fan of the explanation implying that the 25 men who make the team have done something of greater honor. This is a team that is going to cycle through, like, 45 players on the big league roster this year, I reckon. Most of these guys are gonna have some role to play.

 

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.