Texas’ never-ending roster shuffling continues, as the Rangers have activated catcher Geovany Soto from the disabled list, called up catcher/first baseman J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A, and designated first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment.
Soto has missed the entire season following spring training knee surgery, but now figures to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate over Robinson Chirinos.
Arencibia has been a career-long catcher, except he was horrible defensively and of late the Rangers have been using him as a first baseman at Triple-A. Which is fine, except he’s also a terrible hitter. He has 20-homer power, but Arencibia has hit .208 with a ghastly .255 on-base percentage and .655 OPS in 400 games through age 28, posting a hideous 415/77 K/BB ratio.
Pena was signed to a minor-league deal and then quickly promoted to the majors last month, but he hit .136 in 18 games and may simply be finished at age 36. Arencibia will presumably replace him in the lineup, but Arencibia as a regular first baseman could be one of the worst players in the league.
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.