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Hunter Pence optimistic for short DL stint; Giants closer nears return

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Hunter Pence was placed on the disabled list on Monday. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

AT&T PARK — After Hunter Pence pushed through a right hamstring injury last season, which ultimately cost him six weeks of the summer, the San Francisco Giants right-fielder has opted against making the same mistake.

Before the club opened up a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, the Giants put Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a with a similar injury to his left hamstring. Pence believes the injury will only keep him shelved for the minimum amount of time.

“I’m very optimistic,” said Pence, who DL stay is retroactive to May 13. “I don’t feel terribly bad. It’s just, hopefully we can knock this out real quick and, I think, according to what they told me, I should be [ready] right around [when I’m eligible].

Pence said he first noticed the injury last Tuesday during a 6-1 loss to the New York Mets, prompting an MRI. The hamstring grabbed him again a couple of days later against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.

With Pence out, the team recalled Mac Williamson from the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and gave him the start in right field. When asked if Williamson will play every day in Pence’s spot, manager Bruce Bochy hedged, saying the 26-year-old could see time in left as well, that Justin Ruggiano will get at bats and that longtime prospect will have to hit.

“As always, players’ performance will dictate that stuff too,” Bochy said.

Melancon close to return

Mark Melancon threw a 22-pitch bullpen during batting practice, a big step toward joining the roster.

“It’s good news that he did take a pen today and felt great,” Bochy said, adding that the team will wait until Tuesday to decide when to activate the closer.

Eligible to return from a right pronator strain on Tuesday, Melancon is unlikely to require a rehab assignment, Bochy said.

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