Braves reliever Cory Gearrin likely needs Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Gearrin, though, will seek a second opinion before making a decision.
Gearrin injured his elbow in the last week of spring training. He didn’t have a particularly productive spring, finishing with a 6.35 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. Gearrin, who turns 28 on April 14, has posted decent numbers at Triple-A over the last three seasons and was slightly above average at the big league level in 31 innings compiled in the first half of last season with the Braves.
Gearrin wasn’t high up on the bullpen depth chart, but he is just the latest in a long line of Braves pitchers to succumb to the injury bug. He joins Brandon Beachy, Gavin Floyd, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, and Jonny Venters on the shelf.
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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.