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Pudge Rodriguez thinks baseball needs to put steroids in the past

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Hall of Famer-elect Ivan Rodriguez was in Rangers camp over the weekend. While there, he made a plea for baseball — specifically, the Hall of Fame and its voters — to bury the old PEDs hatchet:

“I think these are things baseball needs to put in the past,” Rodriguez said when asked about players from the Steroid Era. “It’s time to think about the game of baseball. There are others who should be in the Hall of Fame, as well. They had great careers. Why not?”

I can’t decide if Pudge is a poor messenger here or, maybe, the most effective messenger for this sentiment possible.

On the one hand, he is widely thought to have used PEDs. There has never been any substantiation of him using PEDs and the only accusation of it came from Jose Canseco, but I’d guess more than half of the baseball fans who followed his career and the Steroid Era believed he used for a couple of reasons. Primarily, changes in his physique and production once drug-testing was implemented. As such, many people may scoff at him asking for the PED guys to be let into the Hall of Fame.

On the other hand . . . he’s going into the Hall of Fame. If you were to grant the assumptions of those fans who suspect him of using, it means a PED guy is heading into Cooperstown. He wouldn’t be the first if he does, indeed, fit that bill, but he may be the most conspicuous. And, somehow, the Heavens aren’t falling. A lot of fans love it, in fact, and we’ve all been able to think back about a career that was pretty damn remarkable and fun to watch.

So, even if you think Pudge is a user, does he not have a point? What is his induction costing anyone? What would Barry Bonds’ induction? Or anyone else’s?

 

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.