Yesterday an MLB official told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension is likely to be upheld, but general manager Doug Melvin said today that the Brewers have yet to get any sort of official word from MLB.
In speaking to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Melvin said: “We’re not involved with it. We can’t do anything about it. Everything comes from the Commissioner’s Office.”
McCalvy speculates that Braun’s suspension being upheld would make the Brewers more likely to sign Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki and their 30-day window to negotiate with him ends January 17. Presumably by that point they’ll have some kind of update on Braun’s status from MLB, but as of now an appeal hearing hasn’t even been set and Milwaukee is still hoping to conduct an in-person workout with Aoki.
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.