A’s sign rehabbing reliever Eric O’Flaherty

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the A’s have continued to overhaul their bullpen by signing left-hander Eric O’Flaherty to a two-year, $7 million deal.

O’Flaherty underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in July and likely won’t be game-ready before midseason, so it’s definitely a risky move. However, before blowing out his elbow he was an excellent setup man for the Braves, posting a 1.99 ERA in 249 innings from 2009-2013.

Oakland’s bullpen already included new closer Jim Johnson, plus Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson, and Sean Doolittle. It has the potential to be a helluva relief corps, but the A’s have invested a lot of money and resources into the late innings.

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.