DENVER – Giants manager Bruce Bochy keeps signaling his intent to play more kids down the stretch, especially in the outfield.
But not in right field. That’s Hunter Pence’s spot until further notice.
Pence is in the lineup Monday at Coors Field – his 140th consecutive start, the longest streak in the National League and the sixth longest in the majors. It’s a streak that Bochy has no intention of interrupting.
“He’s a guy who’s earned the right to be out there every day,” Bochy said. “I’ll check on him and if things go awry, I’ll pull him out. But really, it’s our appreciation for him being out there every day. He wants to be there. And he’s earned it.”
Bochy also plans to play Angel Pagan often in the outfield once he returns from his minor league rehab assignment Sept. 1. So that leaves a small window for Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick and Brett Pill to get starts in left field. Peguero gets the chance Monday because he has the most range and the outfield is spacious at Coors Field.
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Pence will be a free agent after the season but there’s mutual interest in a multiyear contract. He’s batting .326 with nine doubles, one home run and 16 RBIs since the All-Star break.
Pence is five homers and one steal away from becoming the Giants’ seventh 20-20 man in San Francisco-era history, and the first since Barry Bonds in 1998. (The others: Glenallen Hill, Jeffrey Leonard, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda.)
Bochy also said there have been no discussions about shutting down Madison Bumgarner in September. The left-hander has thrown 171 innings in 26 starts after cracking the 200 mark each of the two previous seasons, plus his work in the postseason two of the previous three Octobers. As long as his delivery and velocity are good, Bochy said Bumgarner would continue taking the ball every fifth day. His pitch count might be a bit tighter, though.