Giants to place Pence on DL, activate Aoki on Thursday

ST. LOUIS (AP) The San Francisco Giants plan to place Hunter Pence on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained left oblique, a move timed with activating Nori Aoki, who has been on the DL for a week with a concussion.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the team believes Pence well be back by the end of the 15 days. Pence was injured flying out in the ninth inning on Monday.

''That oblique is a hard one to figure out,'' Bochy said. ''This is a moderate strain so we hope two weeks, he'll be ready to go.''

Bochy made light of Pence's violent, thrashing approach at the plate, saying ''I can't believe he hurt his oblique with that smooth swing.''

''He doesn't hold back,'' the manager added. ''It's probably amazing he hasn't done that before.''

Aoki will get regular playing time in left field and right field. Bochy said he preferred Aoki in right and Brandon Belt in left field on days when catcher Buster Posey plays first base.

''He's doing well, passed all the tests,'' Bochy said of Aoki. ''So that's the plan.''

Bochy also said Mike Leake (hamstring) is on track to return from the DL and pitch sometime during the four-game series in Pittsburgh that begins Thursday. The Giants scratched Leake from his scheduled start on Tuesday, substituting Ryan Vogelsong in a 2-0 victory over St. Louis.

''He's real close,'' Bochy said. ''It's now just a matter of what game we insert him in.''

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