It was Hunter Pence Night at the yard last night in Sacramento as he continued his rehab with the River Cats. The fans got their money’s worth as Pence tallied four plate appearances in just six innings while helping the River Cats pound El Paso.
Ehire Adrianza was also playing in his first game with Sacramento during this rehab tour and took El Paso’s starter Frank Garces deep in the first with a runner on. Pence then entered the box and received a huge ovation, but rolled over on an off-speed pitch to the third baseman. In his second plate appearance he doubled to left-center and looked healthy rounding the bases. His last two plate appearances he grounded out and struck out swinging.
Pence’s double, via Matt Johnson of 27 Outs Baseball:
— Matt Johnson (@MattJ_CRCSports) July 24, 2016
Asked after the game about how he felt and if there was pain in his leg, Pence said, “We’re working through some stuff, it felt good to be out there and competing again.”
Pence understands that his club has missed him, but he has noticed the play of Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker. “[Williamson] is going to be a big part helping us even when I return; he’s an incredible outfielder. Parker, too. These kids are extremely good, they’re helping us, and they’re going to make a difference.”
In Round Rock last week, Pence left the game after grabbing his right hamstring and was asked if it was considered a setback. “I just wasn’t ready yet, was just trying to get back as quick as I can. I wasn’t ready yet. I wouldn’t say setback — we’re ahead of schedule.”
Pence was sidelined with a torn right hamstring nearly eight weeks ago in Atlanta and has missed more than 45 games this year. He was having a tremendous season at the plate, slashing .298/.375/.486 with seven home runs, a 138 wRC+, and 1.5 fWAR. The Giants hope he can be back by early August, but it could take longer.
Here’s the full Pence audio from Sean Cunningham of ABC Sacramento.