Wanting to reward the guy who caught his perfect game against the Rays last year, Mariners starter Felix Hernandez sent A’s catcher John Jaso a Rolex before the two squared off Monday.
Hernandez had “Perfect Game ” and “8/15/12” inscribed on the watch, which was delivered via a clubhouse employee about 90 minutes before first pitch. Jaso was traded from Seattle to Oakland in the offseason as part of the three-team Michael Morse deal.
“It’s pretty heavy. It’s got to be real,” Jaso told MLB.com’s Jane Lee. “The watch I own, I think it’s a Timex, so this is a bit of an upgrade.”
Despite the kind gesture, Jaso wasn’t feeling especially magnanimous during the game; he doubled in the fourth for Oakland’s first hit of the game off Hernandez. That came after he told CSNBayArea.com’s Casey Pratt he wouldn’t have much help for his new teammates in the hitting department:
“What does he go to for his strikeout pitch? A change up? A curveball? A slider? I don’t want to say watch out for his change up and then he’s flipping curveballs up there,” Jaso said.
King Felix did, in fact, have the last laugh tonight, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the Mariners’ 2-0 victory.
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.