Josh Hamilton hopes to return in “two to three weeks”

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com hinted in his column this morning that Josh Hamilton could be back before the end of the month, but now we have it directly from the horse’s mouth.

Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com earlier today that he hopes to be back with the Rangers in “two to three weeks.”

“I haven’t had any pain,” Hamilton said. “Each day I come back, I want to be sore from doing exercises and things like that with no pain and that’s what it’s been so far. All my strength’s back.”

Hamilton, who suffered a fractured right humerus on April 12, has swung a fungo bat each of the last three days and took 125 swings off a tee this afternoon. He actually wanted to use a real bat for the second half of his drills, but the Rangers put the kibosh on that. It will likely be a couple days before he takes that step.

The Rangers originally estimated that Hamilton would be sidelined for approximately 6-8 weeks with the injury, so it looks like he could meet that low end of that timeline.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.