Cubs designate Nate Schierholtz for assignment

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Last season around this time the Cubs decided not to trade Nate Schierholtz in the middle of a career-year. Today they designated him for assignment, dropping him from the roster after the 30-year-old outfielder hit just .192 with six homers and a .541 OPS in 99 games.

Schierholtz was always a strong bet to decline after smacking a career-high 21 homers last season, but from 2010-2012 he’d posted a decent .725 OPS.

He’s stretched as a regular, but Schierholtz has generally been solid when used as a platoon starter against right-handed pitching. He was eligible for free agency after this season anyway, so the Cubs are merely parting ways a couple months early.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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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.