The Giants have placed right fielder Hunter Pence on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters prior to today’s game (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). Pence missed about a week late last month due to a balky hamstring but returned to the lineup over the weekend. However, he came up lame in an attempt to run out a grounder last night and was unable to even finish running to first base. He underwent an MRI this morning, after which Bochy told the media: “Unfortunately, he did a pretty good job on it. That’s a shame.” In other words, Schulman notes, Pence is dealing with a severe strain, which almost certainly rules out a speedy return to the lineup. Surgery has not yet been discussed, though Pence’s MRI still needs to be reviewed by team physician Kenneth Akizuki.
For the time being, the Giants have recalled outfielder Mac Williamson to take Pence’s place on the roster. The 25-year-old Williamson is currently sporting a fairly robust .287/.316/.503 batting line with Triple-A Sacramento, though it’s unreasonable to ask him to fill Pence’s shoes from a production standpoint at the big league level. Pence is currently batting .298/.375/.486 with seven homers on the season, but he’ll now join the Giants’ other corner outfielder, Angel Pagan, on the disabled list with a similar injury. That leaves the NL-West-leading Giants with an outfield mix of Denard Span, Gregor Blanco and the inexperienced duo of Williamson and Jarrett Parker. Brandon Belt could potentially see some time in left field as well; he’s logged just one inning there this season but played 96 innings out there in 2015 and has 355 big league innings at the position.
While there’s no definitive timetable on Pence’s absence, a prolonged stint on the disabled list would invite trade speculation. Pagan is said to be coming along nicely in his rehab and could return to the club sometime next week, Schulman notes, which could lessen the immediate need for some outfield help. However, Pagan doesn’t provide the same offensive skill set, despite a solid .275/.338/.383 batting line at the time of his most recent injury, and he’s also been very prone to injury over the past four seasons with San Francisco. It’s early in the summer still, but MLBTR’s Jeff Todd did recently compile a list of 10 of the game’s likeliest trade candidates while also mentioning several others to monitor as the deadline approaches.