Eduardo Nunez, who not so long ago was viewed by many people as the Yankees’ heir apparent to Derek Jeter, has been designated for assignment.
Nunez was never actually a very good bet to become the Yankees’ long-term solution at shortstop, which some jerks liked to point out on the internet in 2011. Still, it’s somewhat surprising that New York is cutting bait completely considering he’s been a semi-regular as a utility man.
However, he can’t play defense well enough for shortstop and can’t hit well enough for third base, batting .267 with 10 homers and a .692 OPS in 827 career plate appearances through age 26. Yangervis Solarte is the Yankees’ new utility man with Brendan Ryan hurt and Nunez is likely headed to the waiver wire.
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.