Pence, Belt among Giants finished for season

Aoki, Blanco also unlikely to return in final weeks, Bochy says

Pence, Belt among Giants finished for season

SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed what was already a foregone conclusion: Right fielder Hunter Pence and other key players such as first baseman Brandon Belt and outfielders Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco will be sidelined for the brief remainder of the season with their respective injuries.

"I would be shocked if any of them were to play this year," Bochy said Thursday.

Bochy was specifically referring to Pence, who's been idled by a strained left oblique, as well as Belt, Aoki and Blanco, who are recovering from concussions. Outfielder Juan Perez (strained left oblique) and infielder Ehire Adrianza (concussion) also belonged in this group.

Bochy's announcement was timely, given the Giants' imminent elimination from the National League West race. The Dodgers' victory over Arizona earlier Thursday increased the likelihood that they'll clinch the division title before their four-game visit to AT&T Park begins on Monday.

If any single factor hastened the reigning World Series champions' demise, it was Pence's earnest but unsuccessful bid to recover from his injured side. The Giants were 34-17 in games he started. His absence, Bochy said, "played a major role in a lot of the games not having him in the lineup."

The Giants missed the rest of their ailing performers. Losing All-Star second baseman Joe Panik to back inflammation halted the Giants' progress about as much as Pence's absence. Without both of their top backup catchers, Andrew Susac (wrist) and Hector Sanchez (hamstring, ankle), Bochy couldn't use Buster Posey at first base as much as he might have preferred. Belt (18 home runs) and Blanco (.291) reached career highs in those respective categories but couldn't progress further. Aoki (.287) was a strong candidate for the All-Star team when he fractured his right fibula, which preceded his concussion. After summoning Adrianza to provide depth, the Giants had to scramble for personnel when he, too, sustained a concussion.

Pence, formerly a 162-game iron man, appeared in 52 contests this year. Belt played 93 games. Panik managed to appear in 100 games.

Chris Haft is a reporter for 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.