According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, David Ortiz began his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket tonight and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Ortiz struck out swinging in his first at-bat, but reached on a hard-hit single up the middle in the third inning and later delivered an RBI single through the shift in the fifth. The veteran slugger faced his biggest test of the night when he ran from first to third on a double, but fortunately for the Red Sox, he didn’t have any issues with his heel.
Ortiz is expected to need a minimum of 20 at-bats in the minors before he’s activated. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that it’s possible he could be ready to play in a series against the Indians next week, but the Red Sox could wait until they return home next Friday to begin a series against the Royals.
Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava have split at-bats out of the DH spot during the early part of the season, but Ortiz’s return will push them out to left field. Jackie Bradley, Jr. has received most of the playing time there so far, but it’s likely he’ll soon be headed to the minors.
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.