Hunter Pence's return from an oblique injury isn't progressing as fast as he had hoped. The Giants outfielder took some swings off of a tee Monday and it didn't go as expected, according to Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area.
Pence took 20 swings off tee today, it didn't go well. Oblique injury is worse than Giants first thought, it's going to be a while.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) August 31, 2015
These struggles aren't the signs of a setback, at least that's what manager Bruce Bochy told Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
Bochy: Pence had no setback with oblique. He just expects to turn a corner every day he shows up. Won't be ready to play before minors end.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 1, 2015
Pence has been a key contributor to the Giants throughout his time there, and this season is no different. When he has been able to be on the field, he's put together a .275/.327/.478 batting line; but he's only been able to play in 52 games this season.
San Francisco is 4.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West race and need to have as much firepower as they can in order to catch them. Angel Pagan is also currently on the 15-day DL, but he's expected to return to the active roster today.
Their current outfield consists of Nori Aoki, Gregor Blanco, Justin Maxwell and Marlon Byrd. The slow progress of Pence may explain why the Giants pulled the trigger on a deal for Alejandro De Aza last night, which gives them another outfield option.
De Aza provides Bochy with a left-handed bat to come off the bench in late game situations, which they've desperately needed just over the last week. The Giants have been forced to use Madison Bumgarner in a couple pinch hitting situations recently, but with Pagan returning, and De Aza being added to the club, that shouldn't happen anymore.