As Corey Black’s pitch started to run inside, Giants’ right fielder Hunter Pence tried to escape the inevitable outcome, being hit by the pitch. It has happened countless times before to Pence in his career, unfortunately this time there was a little different circumstance. As Pence jogged down the first baseline the San Francisco training staff came out and immediately removed him from the game.
The training staff, coaching staff and fans initially hoped that the injury was just a deep bruise, something that would require the energetic right fielder to take a few days off.
“It does look good,” said Giants’ Manager Bruce Bochy after San Francisco rallied for an 8-6 win over Chicago.
The news they received after x-rays were conducted was not what fans wanted to hear.
According to reports, Pence suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left ulna, just above his wrist. He will put in a cast and will miss anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Best case scenario it means Pence could miss possibly the first 12 games of the regular season. Knowing Pence’s love for the game and want to play every day, he could even press to return sooner.
The loss of Pence, who has helped the Giants win two World Series titles in his three years with the team by using emphatic speeches, unmatched energy and obvious, if not, unorthodox skill, will be felt on the field and in the clubhouse.
Bochy did say that Pence was in good spirits despite the unfortunate news.
“Hunter, he’s always upbeat, optimistic,” said Bochy. “I guess the silver lining is it’s this early in spring so that at least we’ll have a month to start the healing process.”
Along with Pence’s energy, his production in the San Francisco lineup will be missed early on. Last season, he slashed .277/.332/.472 with 20 home runs and 74 RBI, numbers that will be hard pressed to replace, especially with Pablo Sandoval leaving via free agency for Boston.
Pence’s absence could put added pressure on catcher Buster Posey at the start of the season as the main run producer for San Francisco. The Giants have traditionally struggled to score runs, and missing a bat likes of Pence’s production could put San Francisco in an early hole in a suddenly competitive National League West Division. Pence has averaged 93 RBI over the past five seasons.
While his offensive abilities alone has the Giants worried about a prolonged absence, Pence is also a more than adequate defensive outfielder, who plays the right field wall at AT&T Park to perfection. His arm is strong, and accurate, which keeps runners from trying to take extra bases.
San Francisco was already looking for an everyday left fielder, which many believed would be free-agent signing Nori Aoki. The former Kansas City Royal and Milwaukee Brewer will more than likely slide over to play right field while Pence recovers.