MILWAUKEE -- The Giants' Opening Day outfield could reunite before the end of the week. First, they must certify that Angel Pagan's healthy and that Michael Morse is ready -- and that Hunter Pence stays hot.
Manager Bruce Bochy said on Tuesday that Pagan, who's expected to play nine innings for the second game in a row with Triple-A Fresno on a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment, could rejoin the team as early as Wednesday. But Bochy wasn't certain whether Pagan, who's striving to overcome a back injury, would be immediately activated from the disabled list.
Morse was out of the lineup for the second game in a row, despite his fine career numbers at Miller Park (.475, 16-for-37, six home runs, 18 RBIs). The left fielder has one extra-base hit in his last 13 games, prompting Bochy to give Morse a "mental" break.
"I think he has been trying to hit the long ball a little too much," Bochy said. "We've got to help remind him that we're in this position because of a lot of his help. At times, he was carrying us with big hits -- not just home runs, but big hits. He's just got to back off, relax a little bit and have some fun with this."
Bochy said that Pence, who frequently has batted leadoff in Pagan's absence, will return to the No. 2 spot once the center fielder and leadoff hitter returns.
Meanwhile, Pence has been swinging like a cleanup hitter. Each of his six hits in the Giants' preceding series at New York went for extra bases (two doubles, two triples, two home runs). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Giant to accumulate multiple extra-base hits in all three categories within one series was Dusty Rhodes, who did so during a four-game series in August 1954 at St. Louis.