Sam Holbrook may have had the right idea, but it just didn’t do him any good.
In the first inning of Friday’s Blue Jays-Red Sox game, Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to third with Colby Rasmus on third base. Will Middlebrooks decided to throw home to try to retire Rasmus on the play, and though the throw was late, it looked like Kelly Shoppach successful blocked a sliding Rasmus from reaching the plate.
Holbrook, though, was positioned behind the play and had no way of telling whether Rasmus was able to swipe the plate with his hand. Screened off, Holbrook did the only thing he could think of; he went to check the dirt in front of the plate to see try to ascertain whether Rasmus touched home plate.
Here’s the video.
From the swipe mark in the clay, Holbrook decided that, yes, Rasmus touched home plate. Replay, though, made it pretty clear that what he really touched was Shoppach’s shin guard.
I don’t blame Holbrook here. Like pretty much every home plate umpire in every major league game, he’s in an awful position to try to make that call, and given his view, he made the best judgment he could. If only he or someone else could have gone to the cameras instead, it would have been case closed.
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.