Cleveland will activate designated hitter/bench bat Jason Giambi from the disabled list on Tuesday, manager Terry Francona just announced.
That means Giambi will return from a strained calf without going on a minor-league rehab assignment first. It also means he’ll return to the active roster despite being 0-for-10 on the season and hitting .183 in 71 games last season. For whatever reason the Indians feel very strongly about the value of having Giambi around despite his being 43 years old and last being a productive hitter in 2011.
They re-signed him, they gave him a 25-man roster spot after a broken rib during spring training, and now they’re rushing him back from a stint on the disabled list.
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.