The San Francisco Giants' defense of their World Series title is off to a rocky start. Star outfielder Hunter Pence suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left ulna on Thursday when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Chicago Cubs' pitcher Corey Black. Pence will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks and will lose his normal spring training preparation time.
The Giants are already dealing with the loss of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who signed a free agent deal with the Boston Red Sox this off-season. With Pence on the disabled list, Buster Posey will be without the two hitters who hit before and after him for most of the 2014 season. Pence is also the Giants' clubhouse leader, although he figures to be a significant presence in Giants camp as he recovers from the injury.
The injury came in the sixth inning of the Giants-Cubs spring training game on Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium. Pence left the game after being hit by the pitch and tests after the game revealed the fracture.
Pence joined the Giants in 2012 in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. He helped lead San Francisco to a World Series title that season. Pence was instrumental in the Giants' 2014 World Series title, as well. Since joining San Francisco, Pence has a .271/.328/.452 line. He has played in 162 games in each of the past two seasons and he played in 160 in 2012.
Although Pence may miss only a few weeks of the regular season, the Giants could look to make a deal to improve what was already a thin outfield even before Pence's injury. Former Cal star and current Boston Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig is thought to be readily available to any team willing to take on his contract, and the Giants and Red Sox could make a trade to bring Craig back to the Bay Area. Craig can also play first base, so he would be able to move around the field some once Pence returns. The Dodgers, San Francisco's NL West rival, are also looking to move outfielder Andre Ethier. Los Angeles showed a willingness to make trades within their division this off-season when they traded Matt Kemp to San Diego. Ethier's contract is probably too rich for San Francisco to take on, however.