The Giants are trying to keep their slim postseason hopes alive with a lineup that’s basically missing half of its regular position players to injuries. But they’re hoping to get one everyday player back this week -- and possibly one more for a potential 11th-hour push.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford is close to returning from oblique and calf soreness. He took ground balls on the field before Tuesday’s game against the Reds and was expected to try taking batting practice on the field. Manager Bruce Bochy said if Crawford came through that feeling good, he could potentially return to the lineup Wednesday.
"Safer way to go would probably be Friday," Bochy said, because the Giants have an off-day Thursday that would give Crawford extra rest. "But he may say, ‘I feel great,’ And if he does, you could see him in the lineup (Wednesday)."
Meanwhile, Bochy said the Giants are holding out hope of Hunter Pence returning for the last homestand of the regular season. Pence, who hasn’t played since August 17 because of an oblique strain, has begun taking dry swings. The next step would be hitting off of a tee, at which time Bochy said the Giants will have a better idea of Pence’s timetable.
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The Giants don’t want to rush Pence if it means the possibility of a set-back. But they’re still in a position where their last homestand -- and especially a four-game series against the Dodgers -- could have postseason implications.
"That’s an important homestand for us," Bochy said. "And it’d be nice to have his energy his bat and his play helping us out in that last homestand."
The Giants final road series before that homestand is across the Bay in Oakland. Bochy was asked if Pence could potentially be a DH option for that series, but indicated that’s unlikely -- as with most oblique injuries, Pence’s affects him most swinging the bat.
"He gets after it when he swings," Bochy said. "He’s got to be 100 percent, taking swings like he does."
The Giants remain 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers going into Tuesday, and have made up just one game on the division leaders in the last 25 days. But the window hasn’t closed on the wild card either -- they’re 6 ½ games behind the Cubs, who have a tough schedule for the rest of the regular season.
* Bochy believes that Tim Hudson will be able to make his next scheduled start Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Hudson experienced some hip soreness in his outing Monday night. Bochy said the Giants will have a better idea about the weekend after Hudson throws his regular between-starts bullpen session.
"We think he’ll be fine," Bochy said. "I talked to (trainer) Dave Groeschner about him, and he thinks he’ll be OK to go."
* Third baseman Matt Duffy’s two RBIs on Monday night gave him 71 for the season. He’s just the fourth Giants rookie to drive in 70 or more in the San Francisco era and the first since Chili Davis (76) in 1982. The others were Orlando Cepeda (96 RBIs in 1958) and Jim Ray Hart (81 RBIs in 1964).
Before you ask, no, Buster Posey did not reach the 70-RBI mark in winning N.L. Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. Posey fell just shy with 67.
* Speaking of 2010, the Giants have had a familiar face around the clubhouse the past couple days in former outfielder Andres Torres. Bochy said Torres is living in the Bay Area and staying busy with a business venture. It also looks like Torres has been pretty busy in the weight room.
"I tried to get him out to take some BP," Bochy joked Tuesday, "just to see if he can still swing a bat with those guns that he has."
Bochy said Torres might be around more often -- he’s still popular in the clubhouse, and Bochy said that newer Giant Jake Peavy came up to him after meeting Torres on Monday night and raved about what a "neat guy" Torres is. Bochy wasn’t sure if Torres would be around on any kind of official basis.
"But I think he liked hanging around the guys," Bochy said, "and being around the ballpark and showing off his small shirts."
* The Giants’ lineup Tuesday against Reds left-hander John Lamb:
And the Reds’ lineup against Giants right-hander Chris Heston:
SS De Jesus Jr.