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New smokeless tobacco ban will affect Busch Stadium

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A new ban will prohibit all smokeless tobacco products at sports venues in St. Louis, Koran Addo of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bill was approved by the Board of Aldermen on Friday and is expected to take effect in all high school, college and professional stadiums within the city limits — including the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium.

Under the ban, players, staff and fans will not be able to use any smokeless tobacco products, including chew, snuff and dip. A $100 fine will be levied for a first offense, followed by $250 for a subsequent violation and $500+ for any violation after that.

The measure will make St. Louis the ninth U.S. city with such a ban and will make the Cardinals the 12th MLB team to prohibit smokeless tobacco products in their stadium. While the new Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that new players must abstain from smokeless tobacco, several cities have not yet enacted a ban that extends to everyone within their sports venues.

California is expected to enforce a similar law that was passed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2015. The statewide ban will take effect in Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego prior to the 2017 season.

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.