Hunter Pence has cast removed from fractured forearm

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Hunter Pence suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left forearm when he was hit by a pitch in early March and will likely miss all of April, but Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that he had his cast removed yesterday.

While this represents progress, Pence is still about 10-14 days away from swinging a bat. The original timeline called for him to miss 6-8 weeks, but how he progresses in the coming days will determine whether he’ll be able to return in that window.

Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell should see an uptick in playing time during Pence’s absence, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy is also juggling his lineup. Nori Aoki is the new leadoff man while Angel Pagan is expected to bat third against righties and fifth against lefties.

Collin McHugh headed to injured list with elbow discomfort

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Astros starter Collin McHugh will be placed on the 10-day injured list due to discomfort in his right elbow, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros recalled Brady Rodgers from Triple-A Round Rock.

McHugh, 31, has struggled to a 6.04 ERA with a 48/16 K/BB ratio in 44 2/3 innings across eight starts and two relief appearances. If the elbow injury is really an elbow injury and not just an excuse for the Astros to give McHugh a reprieve, this could be bad news.

Rodgers, 28, posted a 3.22 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 16 walks in 44 2/3 innings in the minors this season. He had a cup of coffee with the Astros in 2016, yielding 14 runs in 8 1/3 innings. Here’s hoping his latest stint goes a bit better than that.