TAMPA — I’m at Steinbrenner Field for the Masahiro Tanaka debut today. As I was waiting for his arrival to the Yankees’ clubhouse this morning, another player of note walked in. No one walked over to his locker so I figured I would.
Me: Derek, do you have a second?
Me: What’s it like having a day here where you aren’t the guy everyone is here to see?
Jeter: I’m never that guy. He is [Jeter points to Brian Roberts, two lockers down. Roberts guffaws]
Jeter: What’s going on today?
Me: Well, Tanaka is pitching.
Jeter: Is he? Didn’t even know that. [Jeter is grinning now]
Jeter: Well, come back later and I’ll let you know what that’s like.
All that was missing was him waving his hand, telling me that these are not the droids I’m looking for and telling me to move along.
He’s so damn smooth.
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.