Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez was banned five games by the league Monday for intentionally throwing a pitch at Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Sunday.
Jimenez was not ejected from Sunday’s game, even though it was obvious he meant to drill Tulowitzki. The benches cleared after the incident, though order was quickly restored. Tulo was taken for X-rays on a bruised left elbow, but they came back negative and he’s still expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Jimenez, who said he did no wrong, is likely to appeal the suspension. However, it’d be for the best if he serves it right away. The Indians have Friday off, so they can use a four-man rotation for the first five games of the season and then have Jimenez start the sixth game on April 11. Opening Day starter Justin Masterson would pitch Thursday and Tuesday in that scenario.
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.