Like the old saying goes: Sandwich-related injuries are all fun and games until it keeps someone from playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Last week Joel Peralta hurt his neck while getting out of his car to buy some sandwiches, but the good news was that the injury is minor and the Rays reliever noted that at least the sandwiches tasted good.
But now apparently the minor injury will keep him from pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, as Peralta told Bill Chastain of MLB.com:
The main thing is, this is probably the only chance I have to play in the WBC and I’m not going to be able to. I was hoping that I could. Years earlier, I was anxious for them to invite me to go and they didn’t. Now, they invite me to go and I can’t go. So it hurts a little bit. If I was practicing and pitching, I might change my mind.
It’s a tough break for Peralta at age 36, but that’s the risk you take when getting in a car to get buy some sandwiches.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.