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Will Pence reclaim starting role upon return?

Williamson continues to play well since callup to Giants
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left fielder Hunter Pence tested his sprained right thumb by taking batting practice Tuesday at AT&T Park, prompting hopes that he'll make a smooth return to the active roster.

With Mac Williamson's impressive emergence, however, finding a role for Pence once he's healthy might not be such a seamless process.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left fielder Hunter Pence tested his sprained right thumb by taking batting practice Tuesday at AT&T Park, prompting hopes that he'll make a smooth return to the active roster.

With Mac Williamson's impressive emergence, however, finding a role for Pence once he's healthy might not be such a seamless process.

View Full Game Coverage

When the subject of Pence's recovery was discussed during manager Bruce Bochy's pregame media briefing, a reporter remarked to the Giants manager that Williamson's considerable success as the fill-in left fielder was the proverbial "elephant in the room." Bochy paused for a moment before saying, "That's a big elephant."

This won't be an open-and-shut case of Pence automatically reclaiming his starting job when he's ready for activation from the disabled list. In 17 games before being sidelined, Pence hit .172 with three RBIs and a .190 slugging percentage. In the first four games of his recall, Williamson batted .267 with two homers, five RBIs and a .667 slugging average, and he added another home run Tuesday night against the Nationals.

Video: WSH@SF: Statcast™ tracks Williamson's 464-ft. homer

Of course, Bochy has endured plenty of personnel crunches during his Major League managerial career, now in its 24th season.

"They always tell you it's a good problem to have," Bochy said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Mac Williamson