Cardinals activate Tony Cruz off the disabled list

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As first relayed by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have activated backup catcher Tony Cruz from the 15-day disabled list. Adron Chambers was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals’ only other September 1 roster move.

Cruz played a whole month with a painful stress fracture in his right forearm and was finally given two weeks off when Yadier Molina was deemed fit to return from his sprained right knee on August 15.

Cruz will serve as Molina’s primary backup down the stretch with Rob Johnson falling back into more of an emergency third catcher role. Cruz, 27, is a .241/.279/.338 hitter in 130 career major league games.

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.