According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, free agent right-hander Neftali Feliz is reportedly close to signing a deal with the Brewers. The 28-year-old has also been linked to the Dodgers and Nationals over the last month, though nothing substantial has surfaced on those fronts.
Milwaukee GM David Stearns has been shopping relief options as recently as last week, per a report from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While his roster doesn’t appear to lack any significant bullpen pieces, the loss of closer Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox last month has left the club wanting for more depth. Feliz, meanwhile, could potentially step into the closing role in Milwaukee, provided that his resurgence in 2016 wasn’t a one-time deal.
The veteran righty is coming off of an impressive tour with the Pirates, during which he sustained a 3.52 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 53 2/3 innings. His time on the mound was highlighted by a promising spike in velocity, accompanied by the second-highest strikeout rate of his career to date, though he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness.
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.