PHOENIX — Standing in the corner of the visiting clubhouse at Chase Field, Hunter Pence raised his left arm over his shoulder Tuesday and smiled.
"I typically heal really fast," he said. "I don't know what it is, but I just do."
A day earlier, Pence had trouble putting on his jersey. He did not swing a bat or field a ball during batting practice. He woke up Tuesday feeling better. At 9 a.m., he underwent an MRI. By then he already knew.
He arrived early to Chase Field and told Charlie Manuel he could play. Manuel said fine and ordered him to take swings in the cage with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and hitting coach Greg Gross watching. Playing Tuesday became a reality.
Pence was officially diagnosed with a bruised left rotator cuff suffered when diving for a ball Sunday. The MRI revealed no structural damage. So long as Pence could tolerate the pain, he could assume his cleanup spot in the Phillies lineup.
"I didn't expect to have him," Manuel said.
The team released a statement from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. during the day that said Pence went for a "precautionary" MRI. Pence credited the team's trainers for helping him overcome the injury.
"I felt like a lot of that picked me up," Pence said, "getting the inflammation out of there so I could move it."
Pence, usually a bundle of energy, followed orders to do absolutely nothing Monday. It paid off.
"I couldn't get my glove up here," Pence said, raising his left hand to the normal height it takes to catch a ball. "I didn't stretch at all. I stretched my legs. But I just kind of stood around all day. I tried to let it heal as much as possible. They honestly did not expect me to be this good today."
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