Pence working back slowly from oblique injury

Pence working back slowly from oblique injury

LOS ANGELES -- Though Hunter Pence's recovery from a strained left oblique hasn't progressed as quickly as the Giants might have hoped, manager Bruce Bochy insisted Monday that the right fielder has experienced "no setbacks or anything. He's on schedule."

Bochy felt compelled to make this declaration after Pence said that he took 20 "extremely light" swings, including some off a tee. Pence, said Bochy, will repeat this regimen Tuesday.

However, Bochy did admit that Pence's return is far from imminent.

"It's going to take a little time, I think," said Bochy, adding Pence is "doubtful" to be fit enough in time to go on an injury rehabilitation assignment before Minor League clubs end their season next week.

This season has been an aberration for Pence, who has appeared in 52 of San Francisco's 131 games. He averaged 159 games per year in his seven full previous Major League seasons.

• Expect to see right-hander Tim Hudson back on the mound sooner than later. Bochy declined to reveal details of a discussion he had with Hudson other than "we're getting him ready to pitch." Though it had been anticipated Hudson would appear primarily in relief, Bochy said of the 40-year-old, "I see a start for him."

Hudson hasn't appeared in a game since July 26, when he allowed three runs in five innings and earned the decision in a 4-3 victory over the A's, the last team Hudson hadn't defeated.

• The Dodgers and Giants have occupied the top two spots in the National League West for most of the season, which hasn't been unusual. Since divisional play began in 1969, the teams have finished in first and second place seven times, fourth in this category behind the Red Sox and Yankees (14 times, American League East), the Reds and Dodgers (10 times, NL West) and the Orioles and Yankees (nine times, AL East).

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