Kelvim Escobar’s comeback just got complicated.
According to beat reporter Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the veteran righty has been diagnosed with a nerve impingement (also called a pinched nerve) just above his pitching hand.
Escobar was removed from his Cactus League debut on Sunday against the Cubs after complaining of random weakness in his right hand and wrist.
“[The doctor] thinks it’s the nerve that goes from the elbow down your forearm to the hand,” Escobar said Tuesday. “He thinks maybe it’s inflamed or not firing enough to the hand, and that’s why it stops working. He checked my elbow, my shoulder, my neck and everything is fine. He just thinks it’s a nerve.”
Escobar, who has appeared in just one major league game since the 2007 season, signed a minor league contract with the Brewers this past winter. There is no timetable for his return to Cactus League action.
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.