An injured San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin
May 16, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) The San Francisco Giants activated right fielder Hunter Pence off the disabled list Saturday, giving the defending World Series champions a big boost to their struggling offense.

Pence was hit by a pitch during spring training and broke the left forearm just above the wrist. He felt good during a one-week rehab assignment in the minors, prompting the Giants to fly him in for the rest of their series against the Cincinnati Reds.

''My timing is good,'' Pence said. ''I was seeing the ball great. I feel extremely strong and extremely fast, and the wrist feels healthy.''

San Francisco has stranded 279 runners, the most in the majors, and is batting only .233 with runners in scoring position.

''We're looking forward to it,'' pitcher Madison Bumgarner said, after beating the Reds on Friday night. ''We've missed him, not just as a player but his presence in the dugout and on the field.''

Pence was in the starting lineup for a game Saturday night, batting sixth. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to see how his swing looked before moving him higher in the batting order.

''Right now I just want him to get settled in,'' Bochy said. ''He has not played a lot. This is not where he's going to hit (for long). It allows me to get a better feel of where he's at with the bat.''

Bochy plans to give him an occasional day off as he gets back into playing shape, but isn't worried about Pence being able to play a full game.

''This guy, he's a little different,'' Bochy said. ''He's in such incredible shape. Playing nine innings is not a chore for him.''

The Giants also have missed pitchers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, who went on the disabled list last month. They lost eight in a row in April to fall to 3-9, but evened their record at 18-18 on Friday night with a 10-2 win over the Reds. The 10 runs were a season high.

''They've been playing some really good baseball,'' Pence said. ''They had one stretch - you hit those from time to time - and they bounced out of it and answered. To be 18-18 right now shows how good of baseball they've been playing and how much they've been fighting.

''We have an incredible unit here, so I'm excited to be joining that unit and being part of it.''

The Giants optioned catcher Hector Sanchez to Triple-A Sacramento. Sanchez batted .194 in 18 games with one RBI.


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