Pence accepts iron man days might be over

Outfielder, who was limited to 52 games in 2015, played in all 162 previous two seasons

Pence accepts iron man days might be over

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right fielder Hunter Pence made what amounted to a major declaration on Wednesday before the Giants' 10-6 loss to the D-backs when he admitted that his days of appearing in every game might have to end, for purposes of self-preservation.

Pence's durability is legendary. He played in all 162 regular-season games during his first two full seasons with the Giants, 2013-14. His streak of consecutive games played reached 383. But wrist and oblique injuries limited Pence to 52 games last season.

The ailments also seem to have altered Pence's perspective.

While discussing his renewed health Wednesday, Pence was asked whether he might occasionally ask for days off to maintain his energy and minimize risk of injury.

"I think I have to be open to that," acknowledged Pence, who averaged 159 games per season from 2008-2014. "Because that could be the best way I can help the team. My stubbornness didn't want to accept that. But it's possible."

It's also possible to measure the impact of Pence's presence. When he started last year, the Giants were 34-17. That reflected not only his skills but also the Giants' need to keep him physically fit.

Pence, who turns 33 on April 13, did not set an objective for games played this season. He also vowed not to change his ever-intense playing style, though he plans to wear protective padding on his left wrist.

"I have no goal other than to do my all to win each game and to be as smart as I can to be able to do that for the most games and lead to a World Series [victory]," Pence said. "The whole goal, in my mind at least, each day, each moment, is to stretch my potential to find a way to help us win a World Series."

Pence has performed this spring as if he's ready for October. He's batting .478 (11-for-23) with five home runs, which was tied for the Cactus League lead entering Wednesday. His OPS was a stratospheric 1.608.

"The main goal is to have my body ready to go when the season starts and to have good rhythm," he said.

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.