SAN DIEGO -- Bruce Bochy had a nice, relaxing All-Star break, and when he got to Petco Park on Thursday, he got good news. Bochy's right fielder, Hunter Pence, could start a rehab assignment as soon as Saturday. Second baseman Joe Panik might be just a day behind.
Pence (hamstring surgery) is running the bases at nearly 100 percent and the Giants have a soft target of July 25, the first game of the next homestand, for his return. But Bochy acknowledged that Pence could be back sooner depending on how his rehab games go.
"Pence is doing very well," Bochy said. "If he feels as good as he has been, he'll (play a minor league game) on Saturday."
Panik has been out with a concussion, but his symptoms have all but cleared and he's the closest of the injured to actually returning to the big leagues. The Giants think Panik may need just a handful of rehab at-bats and Bochy is hoping he rejoins the lineup when the Giants play the Yankees next weekend. Panik is surely aiming for that; he's a New York native.
The road is a little longer for Matt Duffy, who tested his injured Achilles by running during the break.
"He's still in rehab mode," Bochy said. "It's coming around a little slower than we had hoped and he had hoped. We're going to slow-play him a little bit more. We're having a hard time getting over the hump with him."
--- Bochy made one change to his rotation, sliding Jeff Samardzija between Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Jake Peavy and Matt Cain (who has one more rehab start remaining) are on track to start in Boston.
Bochy said they decided to move Cueto back a day as soon as he was named the All-Star starter. Cueto threw 32 pitches on Tuesday night. For now, the Giants are not planning to reunite Bumgarner and Cueto atop the rotation.
"It's not a priority," Bochy said. "We're fine with the way we have it set up right now."