Jason Motte played catch twice over the weekend, throwing from 60 feet on flat ground, and afterward the rehabbing Cardinals closer told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that he “felt good.”
Motte and the Cardinals are trying to determine if he can avoid surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament. Previously the stated plan was to make a decision one way or another by May 1, but that may be put on hold for a bit to see if Motte can advance in his throwing program without any setbacks.
Mitchell Boggs struggled filling in for Motte, but Edward Mujica has done a nice job in the closer role since stepping in for Boggs, converting all four save chances without allowing a run.
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.