Pence likely out until Friday

Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, who hasn’t played since Friday because of a sprained left elbow, likely won’t return to the lineup until Friday’s series opener against the Rays at Minute Maid Park.

Pence showed up at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday unable to swing a bat because of discomfort in the elbow. He said team doctors told him last weekend he would likely miss the Rangers series, and that will likely be the case.

“It’s just not ready to swing,” he said. “It’s close, very close, but I’m not ready. There’s really no way other to say I can’t really swing. Until I can, I don’t know how you can really play. I’m going to wait until it’s ready so I can play. I’m going to play hard and play good.”

With the Astros having a day off Thursday, manager Brad Mills said it would probably be best for Pence to be held out of the lineup until Friday. Pence leads the club in batting average, home runs and RBIs.

“Unless all of a sudden he shows up and he’s able to swing and everything’s fine,” Mills said. “I don’t see that happening after talking with him today and how sore he was today.”

The good news for Pence is doctors have told him he can’t do anymore damage to the elbow that he currently has. An MRI performed on Sunday showed no tears or ligament damage.

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