I’ve written a few times that it just doesn’t seem fair to the baseball-loving public for Mariano Rivera to retire when he’s still so clearly an amazing pitcher, if only because I want to find out exactly how long he can continue posting a sub-3.00 ERA. 45? 50?
Anyway, apparently Yankees manager Joe Girardi agrees, because on the same day Rivera notched his record ninth 40-save season Girardi told Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York that he plans to try to talk the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer out of retiring once the season is over.
I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. … I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, “Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.”
For his part, when asked about Girardi’s plans Rivera said: “I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision.”
Meanwhile, he has a 2.12 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and could end up with his most saves since 2004. Keep playing, Mo!
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.