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Giants hope Pence can provide offensive spark

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Giants are hoping right fielder Hunter Pence's return to regular duty energizes an offense that entered Monday second to last in runs scored and last in home runs in the National League.

"I'm feeling outstanding and tremendously excited to be back in the lineup," Pence said Monday. "This is what I love to do and just tremendously grateful to be back."

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MILWAUKEE -- The Giants are hoping right fielder Hunter Pence's return to regular duty energizes an offense that entered Monday second to last in runs scored and last in home runs in the National League.

"I'm feeling outstanding and tremendously excited to be back in the lineup," Pence said Monday. "This is what I love to do and just tremendously grateful to be back."

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Pence missed 20 games on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain and returned to the lineup for the first time since May 12 on Monday. He was activated from the DL on Sunday morning, but did not start in the Giants' series finale against the Phillies.

Pence made a pinch-hit appearance in the Giants' 9-7 loss, grounding into a double play in the eighth inning. But he entered the series having fared well against the Brewers, batting .388 (26-for-67) with 13 runs scored and 10 RBIs over his past 16 games against them.

The Giants are coming off a series loss to the Phillies, who own the worst record in the Majors and had lost 10 straight series prior. The Giants are second to last in the NL with a .231 team batting average and .293 on-base percentage.

"I have him in the six hole right now just to let him get his timing," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Not that he doesn't have it, but it's his first game back. But the fact that he's healthy and back in the lineup helps and will make us a little more consistent offensively."

During his time on the DL, Pence made three rehab starts with Class A Advanced San Jose, going 3-for-10 at the plate.

"It was awesome," Pence said of his rehab experiences. "To get out there and see some of the young guys working to get to play ball with them to get my legs going -- I think the big thing was to get some at-bats and be able to run with that adrenaline of the game. It was very nice to have that opportunity."

Pence batted .153 (9-for-59) with two home runs in his last 16 games before landing on the DL, but said he feels refreshed and hopes to bring some of that energy to the Giants' offense.

"A lot of times being on the DL and not being able to run, you build up a lot of energy and get to see the game from a different perspective," Pence said. "My goal is to bring some of that fresh energy and hopefully, do my part to win ballgames and get a spark going."

Carson Mason is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

San Francisco Giants, Hunter Pence