Hunter Pence will miss Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves with stiffness in his lower back. Jason Michaels will take his place in right field. Pence's backup, Jason Bourgeois will also sit due to a sprained left ankle.
Pence currently has a 22-game hitting streak, which will not be affected as long as he doesn't play Sunday. He could also come in and draw a walk and the streak would remain in tact. However, if you're resting a guy's back, what's the point of bringing him into a game to swing a baseball bat? That would be counterproductive, so naturally, it's sure to be on the table.
Hunter Pence is one of the few positive things the Astros have going for them in 2011. He's having a career year, and while I don't understand the need to "rest" baseball players who aren't injured or aren't in a terrible slump, the Astros should absolutely do everything they can to ensure Pence remains healthy. His hit streak could turn in to a ticket-seller, and the higher his trade value remains, the better.
Plus, Hunter's simply one of the best reasons to watch an Astros game. He's the closest thing they have to a current version of "Mr. Astro" right now.
It is not know if the Astros plan to sit Pence beyond Sunday's game.