Andrew McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture in his left rib cage and missed two weeks. He came back and hit three home runs in six games after being activated, but he aggravated the injury on a catch against the outfield wall in the third inning Tuesday against the Cardinals. Losing the reigning MVP for long while the Bucs are in the wild card race would be disastrous. But it appears as though disaster is being averted:
McCutchen said he expects to play Wednesday when the Pirates and Cardinals wrap up their three-game series at PNC Park.
McCutchen is hitting .307/.403/.539 on the year and is playing his usual stellar brand of defense. If he can stay healthy and the Pirates make the playoffs, he’s likely a back-to-back MVP. If he goes down and the Pirates don’t, well, it sorta tells you why he’s the current MVP.
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.