Craig Calcaterra

Hunter Pence diagnosed with infammation in his Achilles


The Giants have announced that Hunter Pence was diagnosed with inflammation in his right Achilles following an MRI on Monday. There is no structural damage and he’ll miss about a week.

That’s good news. A strain or something worse could’ve put him on the shelf way longer.

Pence only played in 52 games for the Giants last year and he was dearly missed. A healthy Hunter will be key to the Giants’ quest of continuing their every-other-year World Series pattern.

The Royals and Sal Perez agree to a five-year, $52.5 million extension

Salvador Perez

The Royals and Sal Perez had been in talks over a new contract for some time and now those talks are over: he and his club have agreed to a five-year, $52.5 million extension, according to Jon Heyman.

Perez had been on an insanely team-friendly deal. In 2012 he signed a five-year, $7 million deal that included three club options which could, at the discretion of the Royals, keep their catcher locked up through 2019 with a maximum value of $26.5 million. This deal replaces that one.

It’s still a good deal for Kansas City. Perez, who was the 2015 World Series MVP, is considered the heart and soul of the Royals. He’s entering his sixth season and has a career line of .279/.306/.431, which amounts to an OPS+ of 100, or league average hitting. Which, for a catcher, and a durable one like Perez, is quite valuable. Compared to others, his $10 million a year or thereabouts still represents a good deal for the Royals.

The Brewers’ Hank the Dog . . . is an imposter

Hank the Dog

Baseball fandom’s inherently local qualities make it hard to go too deeply into any one team’s world if you’re not already rooting for that team. There are conversations, jokes, controversies and memes that, say, Giants fans have that non-Giants fans will never likely know about. There are nicknames Tigers fans may give to a utility player that non-Tigers fans will never hear. It’s one of the cooler things about baseball fandom, actually, and whenever I stumble upon some new, well, thing that a given fan base has discussed and considered for some time, out of the view of most other fans, I smile. It’s such a rich world out there.

But it can be a bit disturbing at times to realize that you didn’t know about something important. Such as the rumor — which has now gone fully into accepted wisdom, it seems — that Hank the Dog, the Brewers’ unofficial mascot, is an impostor.

The theory, which dates back at least to December but was being discussed even before that, is that the original Hank has been replaced with a fluffier, more photogenic dog. It’s all laid out here at Brew Crew Ball, and it’s fairly undeniable based on the photographic evidence.

Is it a scandal? I’d say no. There are any number of live animal mascots which have been replaced as time has gone on. In most cases they get numeric designations like “Bevo XIV” or “Uga 10.” There’s no reason the Brewers can’t have a “Hank II” if the first Hank either died or was otherwise deemed not to be good for public appearances for some reason.

The Brewers have been more cagey about it, however. All of which makes me wonder if the Phillie Phanatic has been secretly replaced or if the original Mr. Met died in a smelting accident or something. How deep does the mascot deception go?