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8/21/2013 4:58 P.M. ET

Pence wins Heart and Hustle Award for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right fielder Hunter Pence, an inspirational presence since he joined the team in a July 2012 trade, was named the Giants' recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award.

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association selects a nominee from each team and ultimately chooses a winner from among the 30 candidates who will be announced in November. The award recognizes a player's passion for the game and the way he embodies its values and tradition.

Pence gained attention, which he tried to deflect, by delivering motivational addresses to the team during last year's postseason.

"This is a tremendous honor and it's humbling to be considered for such an award," said Pence, who received his team award from community ambassador and former first baseman Will Clark before Wednesday's game.

Sandoval's back injury not serious

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval underwent an MRI on Wednesday for his sore back, which revealed no serious damage.

Manager Bruce Bochy said that Sandoval, whose ailment forced him to be scratched from Tuesday's lineup, probably will start Thursday's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bochy also pronounced Sandoval fit to pinch-hit Wednesday if necessary.

"We're just giving him another day to let this calm down," Bochy said.

Bochy also said that infielder Tony Abreu, whose Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment was interrupted by a mild groin injury, likely will attempt to run Thursday. If Abreu emerges from that test pain-free, he could resume his rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno on Saturday.

Pill working out at third base as insurance

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are trying to capitalize on Brett Pill's versatility, though it might happen in an emergency situation.

Pill's natural position is first base, where he's blocked by hot-hitting Brandon Belt. So Pill has been taking grounders at third base, which gives the Giants some insurance until Pablo Sandoval recovers from his sore back. Manager Bruce Bochy named Pill as his "extra infielder" for Wednesday's series finale against Boston, in the event of an emergency.

Pill has played 57 games at second base and nine at third in the Minors.

"Right now it's just to give us some coverage, a little depth in case something happens today," Bochy said.

Pill also has continued to work out in left field, where he has started seven games as a Major Leaguer. Bochy said that he wants Pill to practice at that spot more frequently before he starts another game there.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.