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Bruce Bochy details possible Mac Williamson return, updates Steven Duggar’s status

HOUSTON–The center field area formerly known as “Tal’s Hill,” is no longer a distinctive feature at Minute Maid Park, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t sad to see the Astros bring in the center field fence.
It doesn’t sound like Bochy would mind if the Giants also altered their ballpark and leveled the surface in foul territory where the bullpen mounds are located. Though there are no plans to change the configuration at AT&T Park, Bochy is hopeful that outfielder Mac Williamson will return to the Giants roster shortly.
Williamson tumbled over the home bullpen mounds down the left field line on April 24, crashing into a wall and suffering a concussion that has sidelined him since the fall.
Williamson crushed three home runs in his first 19 at-bats with the Giants after his call-up, but hasn’t played a Major League game in nearly a month due to his injury. The powerful right-handed hitter is nearing a return to the Giants’ outfield, though, and Bochy suggested it’s possible Williamson will be back with the club for a three-game set in Chicago this weekend.

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“It’s a possibility, sure,” Bochy said. “I think when you look at how much he’s playing, how he’s doing, sure, it is a possibility.”
Williamson went 2-for-4 for the Sacramento River Cats on Tuesday night and hit home runs in his first two rehab starts, but the Giants are concerned about the implications Williamson’s return would have on their pitching staff.
After a three-game set in Chicago, the Giants travel to Coors Field in Colorado and Bochy has repeatedly indicated the club needs 13 pitchers on the roster due to a lack of depth in the starting rotation. Though Williamson will likely be ready to play by the weekend, Bochy suggested the Giants will evaluate the status of their pitching staff before making a final decision.
Williamson isn’t the only outfielder who could be approaching a return, as Opening Day left fielder Hunter Pence slugged a grand slam for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. Pence overhauled the mechanics of his swing and Bochy said he wants to see Pence become more comfortable at the plate before bringing him back.
If Pence continues to produce, the Giants could have a logjam in the outfield.
One Triple-A outfielder who isn’t currently under consideration for a promotion to the Giants’ 25-man roster is center field prospect Steven Duggar, who was one of the final cuts at the end of spring training.
Duggar would instantly become the Giants’ best outfield defender if he was called up, but the Giants aren’t convinced he’s ready to play every day at the Major League level and are hoping he’ll make adjustments at the plate in Triple-A that will help him cut down on a high strikeout total.
“I think just let him play right now, just let him play,” Bochy said. “As far as development, just give him a full year down there. I’m going to back off there, I can’t say a full year for sure. We don’t know what’s going to happen. But let’s just leave him along at this point and it doesn’t mean that something can’t happen at some point in the season. But he’s where he should be and that’s playing every day.”
Panik, Hanson rehabbing
The Giants’ top two second basemen are both on the disabled list, but Joe Panik and Alen Hanson are progressing and could start rehab assignments within the next week.
Panik is recovering from a fractured thumb that required surgery and he took batting practice ahead of Wednesday’s contest at Minute Maid Park. Bochy said the starting second baseman may be ready to begin a rehab assignment when the team travels to Colorado next week.
Hanson is working out at Arizona and treating a strained hamstring he injured rounding the bases in Pittsburgh. The switch-hitter could start playing rehab games in three or four days and will report to Triple-A Sacramento when he’s ready to do so.

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