Pence to start rehab Friday in Sacramento

Pence to start rehab Friday in Sacramento

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hunter Pence's recovery from a fractured left arm will be seriously tested beginning Friday, when the Giants right fielder begins an injury rehabilitation assignment with the organization's Triple-A Sacramento affiliate.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced this plan for Pence after batting practice Thursday. Sacramento begins a four-game home series against Albuquerque on Friday.

Bochy didn't speculate on a timetable for Pence's return to the Giants, though he pointed out the right-handed-batting offensive dynamo missed most of Spring Training. Pence was injured March 5 when he was struck by a pitch from Cubs farmhand Corey Black.

"He's going to need at-bats," Bochy said of Pence. "He has to get built up to [play] nine innings. ... How many games, I can't tell you. It's going to take a little while, I'm sure longer than he plans on."

Asked if his arm was 100 percent healthy, Pence replied, "I wouldn't say that." Yet he insisted that his arm wouldn't hamper him in any way.

"There's not going to be an excuse for any [negative] performance," Pence said. "It's going to be get out there, compete and find a way."

Pence's arm has withstood his increased baseball-related activity in the last few weeks.

"It's been progressing. That's a good sign. I'm able to swing hard," he said.

Bochy said Pence not only will face better pitching by playing in Triple-A but also safer pitching. Facing pitchers in extended spring camp would be an invitation to get hit again, much as Brandon Belt previously was struck on the hand by a pitch during a rehab stint with Class A Advanced San Jose.

"The last thing we want to do is send him to Arizona [to face] young kids that don't have the best control," Bochy said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.