Red Sox create Ramon Ramirez monopoly with waiver claim

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The Red Sox claimed the other Ramon Ramirez off release waivers from the Rays on Wednesday, giving them two right-handers pitchers with the same name.
The newcomer, Ramon A. Ramirez, was claimed off waivers by the Rays last month, only to be released four weeks later. The 27-year-old was previously ditched by the Reds, even though he had a 2.97 ERA in four starts and 12 relief appearances over the last two seasons. Since he’s a short right-hander with a mediocre fastball, he was able to make it through nearly the entire league on waivers. The Red Sox, though, were intrigued by his track record, versatility and plus changeup. He’ll compete for a bullpen spot in the spring.
The other Ramon Ramirez shouldn’t be threatened. He had a 2.84 ERA in 69 2/3 innings in his first year with the Red Sox, and he’ll be counted on to fill a big role in the sixth-through-eighth innings once again.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.