Hunter Pence has cast removed from fractured forearm

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Hunter Pence suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left forearm when he was hit by a pitch in early March and will likely miss all of April, but Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that he had his cast removed yesterday.

While this represents progress, Pence is still about 10-14 days away from swinging a bat. The original timeline called for him to miss 6-8 weeks, but how he progresses in the coming days will determine whether he’ll be able to return in that window.

Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell should see an uptick in playing time during Pence’s absence, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy is also juggling his lineup. Nori Aoki is the new leadoff man while Angel Pagan is expected to bat third against righties and fifth against lefties.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.