Walking around practice fields for a week made me keenly aware of just how damn dangerous it can be out there. There are balls flying all over the place. It takes a few days to get over the impulse to duck and cover every time you see a ball flying out of the corner of your eye. Indeed, if it wasn’t for the fact that the guys throwing, catching and hitting them were experts in their field, it would be a freakin’ death trap during combined BP/fly-shagging practice.
And sadly, even with those experts out there, sometimes the ball has a mind of its own and leads to this kind of thing:
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria was taken to a hospital after being struck in the face by a line drive during Thursday morning’s practice. Manager Bud Black said a ball hit by outfielder Mike Baxter caromed off a protective screen and hit Renteria “square above the lips.”
It’s so bad that Renteria has to have reconstructive surgery because his teeth were [cringe] “pushed back in his mouth.” If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bury my head in a pillow and pretend that I never heard about this.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.