San Francisco Giants injury updates: Hunter Pence to be activated, Matt Cain takes big step
While the Giants couldn’t get it done in their series opener against the Reds on Thursday, falling below .500 once again, there are still a couple reasons to celebrate for fans of the Orange and Black.
Their names are Hunter Pence and Matt Cain.
Update: Friday, May 15 at 4 p.m. PST
So…I was wrong. Apparently, Pence will be whisked away to Ohio (see: failed joke about five paragraphs down), joining the Giants for their last couple of games in Cincinnati:
It comes as a bit of a surprise that San Francisco would activate Pence early, but it’s no secret that the lineup could use his bat—the team is second-to-last in Major League Baseball in runs scored per game. Mark it on your calendars, folks: The Reverend returns tomorrow.
—End of Update—
Neither man is back up with the club, obviously, but both are inching closer to their respective returns for San Francisco with the former likely back next week, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
While Pence got off to a slow start in his rehab assignment in Sacramento, he’s picked things up in a hurry, going deep in two-straight contests including a three-hit effort on Thursday evening. Across five games, Pence boasts a .294 average and .997 OPS with six runs and five RBI in 17 at-bats.
His signature gallop has looked pretty good too:
Travis Ishikawa doubles in Hunter Pence. Yes…this is River Cats baseball… #ClawsUp #RiverCats #SFGiants #RaleyField #HunterPence #TravisIshikawa
A video posted by River Cats (@rivercats) on May 11, 2015 at 3:40pm PDT
As Baggarly noted, Pence, being the competitor that he is, would join the ball club in Cincinnati over the weekend if it were in his control:
But while he’s chomping at the bit to come back, there will be no charter flight whisking him away to Ohio (never thought I’d use those words together). The Giants have purposefully been resting the right fielder every third game with the Rivercats, and there’s a full slate of games upcoming to truly put his endurance to the test.
The earliest we might see Pence in a Giants uni would be Tuesday—the start of a brief, three-game home stand against the rival Dodgers. With the way he’s seeing the ball now, holding him out beyond that series would be a big surprise, barring a major setback.
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The Giants have been taking an equally cautious approach, if not more so, with Cain. Hard to blame them considering he’s on the books for $80 million-plus over the next four years.
So far, so good with that strategy, as the right-hander took a huge step forward by throwing off a mound for the first time on Wednesday. It was only 20 pitches and more of a soft-toss than a full-fledged bullpen session, but a few more ramp-ups and the three-time All-Star should be let loose on live batters, per Baggarly.
Though Cain obviously couldn’t pitch against the Astros this week, the highlight reel of his perfect game versus Houston (good look, CSN Bay Area) was a nice reminder of the dominance he is capable of.
Dominance fans will hopefully get to see within the next few weeks.