Despite recent inclinations that Hunter Pence's season might be over due to an oblique injury, the San Francisco Giants right fielder has been showing signs that he might be able to take the outfield before the season ends.
Pence hasn't played for the Giants since straining his oblique in mid-August. While his rehab from the injury has been slow, the Giants have been encouraged by what they've seen from the 32-year-old outfielder in the past few days.
"He is feeling better," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Once he starts to hit off the tee, I just think we'll have a better idea of when he could be ready."
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Bochy added that the team is optimistic Pence will be able to return for their last home stand, which begins against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 28 and ends against the Colorado Rockies on Oct. 4.
After losing on Tuesday, the Giants remain 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
Unless the team pulls off a magical comeback in the closing stages of the regular season, San Francisco will be extremely cautious in bringing Pence back.
"Hopefully, that's an important home stand for us," Bochy said. "It'd be nice to have his energy, his bat, his play helping us out. … You just have to be careful you don't rush him to the point where he has a setback."