I hadn’t seen this until Baseball Think Factory linked Phil Mushnick’s column at the New York Post. And I gotta say, if you ever find yourself agreeing with Phil Mushnick about something, man, there is something weird going on in the cosmos. But agree I do, as Mushnick was taking Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez to task over his comments about Padres pitcher Alex Torres last Sunday.
As Mushnick describes, SNY put up a photo of Torres from the night before, wearing his protective cap. Hernandez mocked Torres for looking “absurd, and said “If you’re scared, get a dog.” As if a person wanting to protect themselves from a real threat is somehow a coward.
Maybe the cap isn’t the best looking thing in the world yet. But perhaps Hernandez could just note that without spewing macho crap that could, depending on who’s hearing it, make it less likely that players will take reasonable steps to protect themselves and adopt new safety devices as they come online.
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.