ST. LOUIS -- Hunter Pence nearly had the day off Monday. Instead Pence took a swing that could sideline him for several weeks.
Pence was sent for an MRI on Tuesday evening after feeling soreness in his left oblique. The Giants did not immediately know the severity of Pence's injury, but oblique strains almost always put a player on the disabled list. Michael Morse suffered one late last August 31 and ended up getting just two at-bats in September.
The Giants are hoping for good news, but they already suffered one bad break. Pence on Monday told Bochy that he could use a day to recharge his batteries, and Bochy offered to pull him from that night's lineup. The right fielder felt good enough to start, though, and he put on such a show in BP that coaches felt he had enough gas in the tank. Pence's last swing of the day produced a blast to deep center that was caught, and Pence held his side as he ran back to the dugout.
The Giants are already without Angel Pagan, who is on the DL with patella tendinitis but should be ready to return when eligible August 25. Nori Aoki will miss another day with a concussion but he should come off the DL when eligible Thursday. The starting outfield consisted of Gregor Blanco (who could use a day off but can't sit with the current situation), Justin Maxwell and Ryan Lollis, a recent call-up.
"With the outfield, it reminds me -- knock on wood for a different outcome or result -- of 2011," Bochy said. "We got in August (that year) and just lost all the outfielders."
Barring a surprising MRI result, the Giants will make a roster move. They may need an outfielder for just one day, with Aoki set to come back, and Jarrett Parker is the only outfielder at Triple-A who is on the 40-man roster. Mac Williamson has picked it up of late and drove in six runs for the River Cats on Tuesday, but coaches have been told he's not quite ready for the jump to the Majors. Williamson spent most of his season at Double-A Richmond.
The easiest solution Wednesday may be to put Brandon Belt in the outfield and start Andrew Susac at catcher, shifting Buster Posey to first. Asked if Belt could switch positions in the rainy conditions in St. Louis, Bochy smiled.
"I think he's a mudder," he said.
--- Mike Leake did some running on the field and is said to be feeling better. The Giants are a bit relieved that he's not out there with that strained hamstring, because the field is wet and rain is in the forecast all night. Leake is set to return Sunday, but Bochy said he could slide into the rotation before then.
"He's that close," Bochy said.
--- The bullpen, Bochy said, is in pretty decent shape -- even with the second long reliever getting a start tonight. Yusmeiro Petit is available for short work and Hunter Strickland is, too.
--- Lollis is from Houston and went to the University of Missouri, so he's close to a lot of family and friends. He said he has an uncle and cousin coming in tonight and some college coaches should be here, too. Lollis is still looking for his first big league hit, but the reports on his work in the minors were positive.
"When you talk to guys who have been down there, our rehab guys, they always say nice things about Lollis and how he plays the game," Bochy said.