DENVER – Just as Hunter Pence got his breath back, Bruce Bochy lost his.
“He said, `Take a rest. I need a minute to run back,’” said Pence, who was attended by Bochy and a trainer after a scary collision with the right field wall at Coors Field Monday night.
There’s your smile moment in a 6-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Pence will survive to play another day – and yes, that includes Tuesday’s lineup, in all likelihood, which would extend his streak to 141 consecutive starts. That’s the longest current run among National League players.
[RELATED: Bochy has no desire to interrupt Pence's streak]
Prior to the game, Bochy said he intends to honor Pence by keeping him in the lineup every day.
That’s exactly what Pence hoped to hear.
“It’s an honor to me,” Pence said. “That’s what it is. I’m grateful to play. Every day, I enjoy competing at the major league level. I’m blessed to get the opportunity. As a kid growing up, I never dreamed I’d play one game in the major leagues. So to be out there every day, I’m grateful.”
Even one day after plowing chest first into the wall while chasing Michael Cuddyer’s triple?
“It’s a good bet,” he said, smiling. “If he puts me in the lineup, I’ll be ready to play. I respect whatever he decides. (But) I’ll want to play. He’ll know that.”
Besides, Bochy won’t forget that Pence did him a favor after the manager double-timed it more than 400 feet from the dugout at altitude.
“Well,” said Bochy, “that’s a long way to where he went down.”
Pence said he didn’t hit his head against the wall, even though it looked like he might have had some whiplash from the impact.
“Just knocked the wind out of myself,” he said. “Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move. It got me in a couple parts but I’m good. I wanted to be able to pick up the ball. That’s not a good feeling when you can’t do that.”
Then he asked reporters if they’d seen a replay, and if they laughed.
“I’m sure it’s pretty funny,” he said. “Hopefully you get a good laugh. They’re laughing in here. It’s sort of funny, because I’m not seriously hurt. I’m sure I’m going to watch it tomorrow and laugh my tail off. I’m not offended by that.”