Hunter Pence went into Saturday night's game against San Diego leading the Phillies in home runs (7), RBIs (23) and extra-base hits (14), but his .256 batting average, .297 on-base percentage, and .778 OPS were well below his career averages of .291, .341, and .826.

What's more interesting is how manager Charlie Manuel and hitting instructor Greg Gross treat Pence when he is struggling.

In essence, they leave him alone.

"Hunter chases bad balls at times," Manuel said. "He's different from any hitter I've ever had. Myself and GG, we don't want to confuse him, we don't want to get him out of sync with his thinking. The way that he approaches hitting, he will always swing at balls out of the strike zone."

"What do we do about it? I don't know. You wouldn't call him a disciplined hitter. You would call him an unorthodox hitter. He's a guy who sees it and if he thinks he can hit it, he swings at it. To me, right now, I think you have to kind of accept that and hope he gets good balls to hit."

Manuel said he suggested something to Pence a while back and "it kind of like messed him up."

Fontenot arrives

Mike Fontenot does not have to think long and hard about his best moment at Citizens Bank Park.

Without question, it occurred Oct. 23, 2010, when the San Francisco Giants pulled out a 3-2 victory to win their National League Championship Series with the Phillies. Nine days later, Fontenot celebrated a World Series title after the Giants beat the Texas Rangers in five games.

Now a member of the Phillies after being promoted from triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday night, the 31-year-old Fontenot didn't want to talk much Saturday about the Game 6 victory that abruptly ended the Phillies' 2010 season.

"I just know one thing - it was fun playing here," Fontenot said. "I'm a part of the Phillies now, and that's great. I always remember that series - the atmosphere in both parks was unbelievable. It was fun to be a part of."

Fontenot went 2 for 8 in that series. He had joined the Giants in August after being traded from the Chicago Cubs. The infielder spent last season with San Francisco but was released in spring training this year.

He signed two weeks later with the IronPigs and earned his promotion by hitting .300 with six doubles and six RBIs in 15 games.

To make room for Fontenot on the 25-man roster, the Phillies optioned catcher Erik Kratz to Lehigh Valley and transferred infielder Michael Martinez from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Manuel said he would use Fontenot at second base, shortstop, and third base.

"He can hit some," Manuel said. "He swings the bat well. We'll try to work him in, get him comfortable, and see where we go from there."

Extra bases

Cole Hamels' five-game suspension ends Sunday. He will return by pitching against Jeff Suppan in the Phillies' series finale with San Diego. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Hamels threw an extra bullpen session between starts because of the extra day off. . . . Closer Jonathan Papelbon had pitched just once in the last 10 days before Saturday night, and Dubee was asked why the Phillies did not use him in the ninth inning of Friday night's 7-3 win. "Sometimes guys don't like to work in games like that, especially closers," Dubee said. "We thought going the other way was fine." Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless ninth, and Dubee was impressed with the righthander's outing.

Contact Bob Brookover
at bbrookover@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @brookob.