ST. LOUIS -- For the second straight year the Giants will play a significant portion of the season without their star right fielder.
The Giants announced Friday that Hunter Pence has a hamstring tendon that's torn off the bone on his right leg, and the club is leaning toward surgery. Pence is expected to miss about two months.
The Giants are currently in the process of determining when and where Pence might have a procedure, which would get him back on the field quicker than a rehab program. Trainer Dave Groeschner said one of three tendons in that part of Pence's leg will be removed, similar to a procedure Angel Pagan had in 2013.
Pagan originally returned for a rehab assignment that June and and then was carted off the field. He ended up returning from surgery less than three months later, but Groeschner said Pence's case is slightly different. The Giants had multiple doctors across the country look at Pence's MRI results and the consensus was that Pence should have the surgery instead of trying to rehab, and that his timetable would be set at eight weeks. The Giants hope to get him back in August.
"I just trust in the doctors and the process, and we have a great team here," Pence said. "I understand what happened. For me, it's whatever I can do to get back and strong and capable to help the team. I'm kind of optimistic and relieved to be able to work on that. It feels good to know there's a process and what needs to happen to get back."
Pence said he felt his hamstring pop when he was running down the line Wednesday in Atlanta. He was told that if he didn't have surgery, there was a 50-50 chance of re-injuring the tendon this season and thus having a longer recovery.
"We may do this and the timetable may change, but right now it's eight weeks and it may be shorter than that," Groeschner said. "(Surgery) is a better outcome, a more predictable outcome. In any case you want to shy away from surgery, but to get him back and for him to be healthy that's what's best.
The Giants have averaged 4.87 runs per game and gone 62-36 with Pence in the lineup the last two seasons. Without him -- Pence hurt his wrist and oblique last season -- they are 56-64 and average 3.89 runs per game. Manager Bruce Bochy said he'll lean on young outfielders Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker, as well as Kelby Tomlinson, who has one start in the outfield. Brandon Belt could play outfield more often, too.
Bochy also acknowledged that he has discussed trade options with general manager Bobby Evans.
"Like every club, you kick the tires and see if something makes sense," he said.
In addition to Pence, the Giants are still without Pagan, who is 7-10 days away from returning from his own hamstring strain.
"We have two of our regular outfielders out, and it's always challenging," Bochy said. "It's more important I think that we keep pushing here. We've dealt with this, we've overcome -- even in good years -- big injuries. We need these (young players) to help out and contribute. That has to happen. If you look at our lineup, as a group, we can get better."
As he did last year, Pence plans on rehabbing with the team. He is a firm believer that you can help out while on the disabled list, and he smiled Friday as he pointed out that "what I have still healthy is my mind." There is little doubt that Pence will continue to be the team's inspirational leader as he rehabs and continues to train.
"I like the phrase, 'Be a fountain,' and lift these guys up and at the same time do the work to get back," he said. "The good news is there's going to be a lot left of the season when I get back. That's exciting."