Quick Hits: Pence, Acuna, Anderson, Yankees, Andujar, Kazmir

After being designated for assignment by the Giants earlier today, Hunter Pence’s second stint with the club has likely come to an end, and the longtime fan favorite wasn’t shocked by the news after hitting only .096/.161/.250 through 56 plate appearances.  “I think I’ve been in the game long enough to know that no matter what, what I was producing on the field, you’ve got to bring a little bit more to the table than that.  I completely understood,” Pence told Henry Schulman and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pence said he would “stay open” to the possibility of continuing to play should an opportunity arise, though he acknowledged that retirement might be on the horizon, describing the last “couple of years” as “the bonus rounds” of an outstanding career.  If this is indeed it for Pence, he’ll hang up his glove after 14 years of Major League ball that included four All-Star appearances, a league-wide reputation as a clubhouse leader, and a place in the hearts of all San Francisco fans for his contributions to two World Series championships.

More from around the game…

  • Tuesday could be a big day for the Braves, as their game with the Yankees could mark both the return of Ronald Acuna Jr. from the injured list and the big league debut of pitching prospect Ian’s Mark Bowman was among those to report the news that Acuna took batting practice on the field tonight, a day after being cleared to take swings.  A wrist injury has sidelined Acuna since August 10, though assuming he is pain-free and feels ready to go come Tuesday, one would imagine the Braves would be eager to get the superstar oufielder back into the lineup as soon as possible.
  • As for Anderson’s status, manager Brian Snitker gave a hint to Bowman and other reporters in saying that Tuesday’s starter wouldn’t be impacted by pitching usage in Atlanta’s game tonight against Philadelphia.  Pundits rank Anderson within at least the top 45 prospects in all of baseball, with The Athletic’s Keith Law citing Anderson’s “real No. 2 starter upside” as one of the reasons for a 27th place ranking on Law’s preseason prospects list.  An early display of this potential would be a huge boost to a Braves team that has been short on consistent starting pitching year apart from Max Fried.
  • While Yankees fans consistently speculate that the team could or should trade one of their younger players for a more proven talent, George A. King III of the New York Post pours some cold water on the idea of Miguel Andujar, in particular, being dealt.  An injury-plagued 2019 season and a slow start in 2020 has seen Andujar produce only an .118/.141/.118 slash line over his last 71 MLB plate appearances, and King feels the Yankees aren’t going to move such a promising slugger when his trade value is so low.  It remains to be seen where Andujar will fit into New York’s future plans given the emergence of Gio Urshela as the everyday third baseman, but that isn’t a decision the team has to make any time soon.
  • Could a return to the majors be in the cards for Scott Kazmir?  The left-hander is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for the Sugar Land Skeeters, and ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that this outing “will probably be his last start” for the independent club.  Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2016 or in affiliated ball since 2017, though the 12-year MLB veteran was known to be planning another comeback attempt.  It isn’t known how many Major League teams have gotten a first-hand look at Kazmir given how the pandemic has altered normal scouting procedures, but Kazmir would be something of a low-risk flier to see what he could potentially contribute (probably as a reliever) at age 36.


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