Stephen Strasburg looked fantastic in his first start back from Tommy John elbow surgery, averaging 96 miles per hour with his fastball while throwing five shutout innings Tuesday night, so the Nationals will keep him on a normal rest schedule for his next turn in the rotation.
Strasburg is slated to make his second start Sunday versus the Astros, which means a second straight matchup against one of the NL’s worst lineups. He held the punchless Dodgers to just two hits while working on 12 months and three days of rest Tuesday.
Assuming the Nationals continue to start Strasburg every fifth game for the remainder of the season he’d wind up making a total of five starts against the Dodgers, Astros, Marlins, Phillies, and Marlins again. As a rookie last season he made 12 starts before being shut down.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.