Hunter Pence underwent an MRI on Monday. Update: It showed only inflammation. Which is a good thing. How does that sentence make you feel? It makes me grimace and throw things. Your reaction is probably in that same genre.
But if you're looking for some good news, it's that Pence's sore right Achilles tendon feels better than it did over the weekend, and by all accounts, the MRI and lack of baseball activities are hyper-cautious steps. The Giants don't play a game that matters for over a month, remember. Pence should return to regular duties next week.
On the other hand, Hunter Pence underwent an MRI on Monday. There hasn't even been a Cactus League game yet, and the Giants are already worrying about an injury to one of their middle-of-the-order hitters. MRI. Hunter needs rest. MRI. Hunter needs rest. MRI. Hunter needs rest.
MRI. Hunter needs rest. MRI. Hunter needs rest ...
There's a quick and easy way to determine just how freaked out you should be about a spring training injury, as you'll see in this graph that I've compiled based on research from the last two decades.
Don't concern yourself with the precise value of concern points. They quantify the concern, that's all you need to be concerned with. And once a player hits 30, every ache and pain in spring training makes me hyperventilate.
Is that fair to Pence? No, not especially. His injury plagued year last season was his first, and the progression went like this:
- Hit by a dumb fastball
- Wrist injury related to dumb-fastball injury
- Oblique tweak, which can happen to anyone, young or old
There's nothing in there that makes me worried about Pence specifically for this season. Just his age. Which is a mighty lazy way to determine fragility, but it's just about all we have. A player's past ability to avoid injury is relevant, but like Matt Cain proved, some players never get hurt until they get hurt.
Pence will be fine, he'll be just fine, ha ha, but every spring we get excited for pitchers and catchers reporting, and we're always slapped with a dead-fish reminder that all of the hopes and wishes you were counting on for the last five months are about to get screwed with. The Giants' lineup is crazy deep? It's certainly as deep as I remember in the post-Bonds era. Well, here's that lineup, but without one of the key cogs. Think about that until the exhibition games start.
That is, even though Pence will be right back. Do you remember who had a sore hamstring and sat out games in the 2010 Cactus League? Me neither. But I'm sure someone did, and it all sort of worked out.
Hunter Pence underwent an MRI on Monday. That is my least favorite sentence of the spring so far. But it's probably just a team being safe with its multimillion-dollar investment. It's understandable, even if it's still terrifying.