SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Pence arrived in San Francisco on Friday afternoon and immediately ran around the airport. That energy was there in the clubhouse, too, and really that’s the thing the Giants need right now more than anything.
There is a sense among team officials that life will be much better with Pence around, and not just because he’s a big-time right-handed bat. The Giants looked lifeless last night, and Pence brings a spark regardless of how he’s hitting.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Pence will be in the lineup Saturday. Today was marked down as a rest day for a player who is coming off hamstring surgery and originally was not supposed to be back this soon.
Pence said his “legs feel great” and he’s “happy to be back.” He thanked the training staff for taking care of him and friend/coach Chad Chop for feeding him pitches in the cage after games so Pence could keeps his eyes sharp. He did a lot of work tracking tennis balls.
Pence will have missed 48 games, and while the Giants were up by 5 1/2 games the day he went down, the lead is down to two.
“I play the game with a lot of emotion and energy and hopefully I can pour as much of that vibe onto the field and give them a little boost,” he said of a team that’s 2-10 since the All-Star break. “I intend to come ready to help.”
Pence is relentlessly positive, and he shrugged off a question about being frustrated during his break. He pointed instead to a silver lining.
“To get time to get back healthy and still be in first place is pretty amazing,” he said.
The Giants have given back most of that lead. They’re hoping Pence turns them back in the right direction.
--- Eduardo Nunez is here and will be available off the bench. Jarrett Parker was optioned to clear a roster spot. Nunez is expected to start tomorrow and Bochy hinted that lineup changes could be coming. He said he would talk to a few players before making his thoughts public, but it's not hard to see that the top of the order has struggled.
--- Matt Reynolds was warming up in an independent league game earlier this year when someone informed him that a fireworks show was about to start. "They were like, whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down there," he said, smiling. The game was delayed for 15 minutes for a mid-game show, and then Reynolds entered. He's a long way from that now. The lefty is on the roster, and he warmed up in the ninth last night. Reynolds said he's thrilled to be here after failing to find a job when he was released by the Diamondbacks this spring.
"I felt really good in spring and it was a little bizarre that I was having trouble finding a job after being released," he said. "I got to step back. It made it a fun opportunity."
Reynolds took it in stride, and when the Giants called June 24 he went right to Richmond and pitched well. Then he went to Sacramento, and by the time he got called up here he had 13 scoreless appearances under his belt. Reynolds had Tommy John in 2014 but he's healthy and eager to get another shot. "
"It's been an interesting journey," Reynolds said, smiling.
--- I wrote about the latest trade rumors this afternoon and nothing has changed. But I will say that people I've talked to today are somewhat optimistic that they can get something else done this weekend when the market clears a bit.