SAN FRANCISCO -- The timing was terrible for Steve Pearce when he went on the disabled list with a partial right calf tear on May 30. Not only had he found his footing at the plate, but circumstances were so that Pearce was finally getting the opportunity to start on a fairly regular basis.
But all that momentum Pearce was building vanished with the calf injury, and since returning from the DL on July 22, he has not come close to regaining the consistent and fluid swing that had been behind his May surge. Entering Wednesday, Pearce had tallied only three hits (all singles) in 31 at-bats since returning to the club.
"When I got back, my swing still wasn't all there yet," Pearce said. "I just felt in a mechanical slump. I was trying to create stuff that wasn't there, and I was trying to do too much. I was out of whack. Right now, I'm just trying to find some rhythm and timing at the plate, that's all. I need to be more under control."
Pearce has worked specifically to correct a few timing issues with his swing during pregame work in San Francisco. He earned a rare start at third base Wednesday. It was only Pearce's fifth start since being back.
Recent offensive surges by Garrett Jones and Brandon Wood haven't left much opportunity for manager Clint Hurdle to get Pearce into the lineup much more often than that. And the starts will continue to be sporadic if Pearce can't find a way to break through this slump.
"I understand where at-bats can help, but I also understand when mechanics aren't in lock," Hurdle said Wednesday. "I think he needs to revisit squaring balls up. He seems to get a little big with his swing. His timing has just been off. He's almost trying to ambush pitches and just isn't getting good reads.
"He'll get some at-bats today and we'll see where we can take those."