Call them the anti-Nationals, maybe. But the Marlins are only a game out of first place and they are taking precautions with a young pitching prospect in the event they need him to help them out for a playoff run in September.
The pitcher is Andrew Heaney, who plays for Triple A New Orleans. Clark Spencer of the Herald reports today that he is being skipped in the rotation and will likely be skipped a few more times this season so that he doesn’t hit his innings limit and thus could be used for a potential playoff stretch run. In this the Marlins are making a different choice than the Nats made with Stephen Strasburg a couple of years ago.
As of now, Heaney ,who just turned 23, is 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA and is striking out more then 10 batters per nine innings in four Triple-A starts.
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.