Summer afternoons a few hours before each home game, Bruce Bochy trudges to his spot in the dugout to face a circle of press.
His catcher’s squat-weary legs already slow him down, but lately his strut’s been a bit slower — reluctant as he readies himself for his next injury report. The Giants returned to AT&T Friday after a rough 3-7 road trip, and Bochy sat down with same kind of news.
With only three weeks left in the season, San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Friday there’s a chance fans won’t see Hunter Pence back on the field this season.
Pence strained his left oblique August 17 on a big swing and miss against the Cardinals. He’s missed the last 22 games with this third DL stint of the season. He’s been stuck in recovery mode since that day in St. Louis, and there may not be enough time for his return.
Aoki’s had a different journey back. He came off the DL on August 20, but had to be benched last Saturday after experiencing post-concussion symptoms that morning. Bochy said there’s a chance he won’t be taking the field again this season.
Gregor Blanco is giving us Aoki flashbacks; he was diagnosed with a concussion prior to Friday’s game incurred after a nasty slide in a game against the Dodgers. If his journey back is anything like Aoki’s, September will just be a month of recovery. Outfielder Jarrett Parker was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to supply a left-handed bat off the bench.
Bochy said Joe Panik is still struggling with his back and Brandon Crawford is day-to-day with a sore calf and tight side. They should be back to Crawnik-ing soon, he hopes.
Just four players remain on the DL —Tim Lincecum (hip), Pence (oblique), Hector Sanchez (ankle) and Andrew Susac (wrist) — though the day-to-day list has really been taking a spin this season.
‘It’s really unbelievable.”
Once stacked with depth at catcher, the Giants bench took a huge blow over the road trip when Sanchez and Susac sustained season-ending injuries. Jackson Williams got the call to back up a tired Buster Posey. Williams started two games without much hype; his nine-year career in the minor shows he doesn’t have great discipline at the plate. He’s struck out more than 500 times, 50 in 276 at-bats for Double-A Richmond this season.
Matt Cain did make his way back up off the DL and it looks like he’ll get at least one start.
The Giants are 8-1/2 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West and 9 back of the Cubs in the Wild Card race with 22 games left in the season. Mathematically, they’re still in it. But with the way the team’s luck’s been swinging, October isn’t looking to bright.
Bochy looked tired, but joked and stayed chipper:
“We’re breathing, you never know what could happen. You win a few games get some momentum going some mojo going and get a little help, things could change. That’s the way we gotta look at it. The fact that we’re still alive. Sure it’s gonna take some great playing on our part, it’s gonna take some help.”
The Giants nearly had a productive road trip; five of their seven losses were decided by one run. Three of those came in that Dodgers’ sweep.
It’s astounding, really, that the Giants still have an end in sight.