Philadelphia activated Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list after the All-Star catcher missed the past five weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which is a surprise considering there was some recent talk about the Phillies simply shutting him down the season.
Not as surprising is the Phillies putting Placido Polanco on the disabled list, as he’d already been benched in favor of journeyman Kevin Frandsen and clearly wasn’t close to being fully healthy anyway.
Ruiz was having an amazing, breakout season before going on the DL, hitting .335 with 14 homers, 28 doubles, and a .959 OPS in 95 games. In his absence the Phillies turned to 32-year-old rookie Erik Kratz as their primary catcher and he’s remarkably hit .287 with nine homers and a .944 OPS in 38 games, so between his unexpected production and Ruiz’s health it’ll be interesting to see how manager Charlie Manuel divvies up the playing time behind the plate.
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.