Phillies Notes: Pence reminds Phils what they are missing

Hunter Pence is on a roll for San Francisco. He homered, doubled, and singled against Cliff Lee on Monday night. BEN MARGOT / AP
Hunter Pence is on a roll for San Francisco. He homered, doubled, and singled against Cliff Lee on Monday night. BEN MARGOT / AP
Posted: May 09, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO - The targets for Hunter Pence at AT&T Park are plentiful. There is the giant Coca-Cola bottle in left field and a body of water beyond the right-field wall. His batting-practice shows have traveled from Houston to Philadelphia and now here, where Pence swung with all his might Tuesday afternoon.

Pence provided a show in his first game against his former team on Monday. He homered, doubled, and singled against Cliff Lee. His .847 OPS ranked second among the Giants entering Tuesday's game.

The Phillies had Pence for one year. They knew they were surrendering offensive production in right field when they dealt him to San Francisco last July, but it was with the intention of shedding another big-money contract.

Pence is making $13.8 million for the Giants in 2013 and will be a free agent at season's end. The five outfielders on the Phillies roster will earn a total of $3.9 million. As a group, they ranked last in baseball with a .612 OPS before Tuesday.

When the Phillies needed Pence to anchor their lineup at the start of 2012, he failed. Given his salary, the Phillies deemed him expendable.

"When we first got him, he was comfortable with us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Now when I watch him play, he feels comfortable. I've always liked Pence and what he gives you. He comes to the ballpark, he works just as hard as anybody. He hustles. He plays hard. You can't help but like him."

Pence had a six-game hitting streak that ended Tuesday night against the Phillies. He batted .458 with a 1.355 OPS in those six games.

"I'd have liked to have seen us throw some balls out of the strike zone and see if he wanted to chase them," Manuel said. "He gets excited sometimes."

A week for Young

Delmon Young received a day off Tuesday. He has played in seven games, five in right field, and Manuel was pleased with what he saw. Young was hitting .150 with a .600 OPS in 24 plate appearances.

He handled all the routine balls hit his way in right but was not often challenged.

"His hitting is starting to come around," Manuel said. "He's been getting some at-bats and stuff, but he's been in the minor leagues against young pitchers. He hasn't seen any command and the location like major-league pitchers have got. That makes a difference."

Extra bases

Cliff Lee's career 0.88 ERA against San Francisco is the lowest among all active pitchers (minimum five starts). . . . Michael Young had hit into 10 double plays entering Tuesday, the highest total in baseball. The next closest was St. Louis' Matt Holliday with eight. . . . Reading's Jesse Biddle, 21, was named the Eastern League's pitcher of the month for April. Biddle, the second-youngest pitcher in the double-A league, posted a 1.74 ERA in April and struck out 40 in 31 innings.

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