San Francisco Giants

May 1 return unlikely for Giants’ Hunter Pence

San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence (8) grounds out to Chicago Cubs' Tommy La Stella during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence (8) grounds out to Chicago Cubs' Tommy La Stella during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2015, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP

After suffering his fractured forearm in the first week of March, Hunter Pence initially hoped he’d be able to return within six to eight weeks. It sounds like the Giants will have to wait a little longer to regain their right fielder.

Manager Bruce Bochy said today Pence is "making progress" but that a May 1 return is unlikely. Pence has begun some baseball activities but still needs to hit off of a tee, then take soft toss, before he’s ready to face live pitching. After that, Pence will probably need a minor-league rehab assignment.

"(There are) all these boxes he’s got to check off," Bochy said.

With the Giants facing a left-hander tonight in the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson, Justin Maxwell gets the start in right field. Buster Posey is at first base, with Andrew Susac catching Tim Lincecum. Bochy said Brandon Belt could return to the lineup Wednesday against Clayton Kershaw.

The full Giants lineup:

LF Aoki

2B Panik

CF Pagan

1B Posey

3B McGehee

C Susac

RF Maxwell

SS Crawford

P Lincecum

And the Dodgers’ lineup:

SS Rollins

RF Puig

1B Gonzales

2B Kendrick

C Grandal

LF Crawford

3B Uribe

CF Pederson

P Anderson

* Bochy said no decision has been made on the Giants’ starter for Thursday’s series finale. Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Vogelsong are the two likely candidates to take what would have been Jake Peavy’s start. Peavy was placed on the 15-day DL last week with a back strain.

* Posey was one of several Giants hitters taking early batting practice on the field before tonight’s opener against the Dodgers -- not a common sight, as Bochy acknowledged. The catcher is batting .229 with six RBIs through the first two weeks of the season.

"He did some work off the tee, trying to get a couple things figure out," Bochy said. "You don’t see it a lot, but I know Buster’s trying. These guys are trying."

* Bochy said last weekend he hoped the Giants’ ring ceremony would help energize them by reminding them "that they are good." He said he hopes playing the Dodgers, who have won seven straight coming in, has a similar effect on the 4-10 Giants.

"It’s early, but it’s the Dodger-Giant deal, so I hope it does," Bochy said. "We’ve got to get on track and this could be part of it. We’re playing a team that’s hot … so it’s going to be important that we raise our level of play."

Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at sacbee.com/mlb. Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.

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