A few hours later, Charlie Manuel penciled him into the lineup.
"They honestly did not expect me to be this good today," Pence said before Tuesday night's game against the D-backs at Chase Field. "I typically heal really fast. I don't know what it is, but I just do. ... I'm able to move it and I'm able to play, and there's no danger."
Pence injured the shoulder diving for a baseball in the third inning in Sunday's loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. He could not raise his arm Monday, forcing him to miss his first game of the season. The Phillies scheduled the MRI for Tuesday morning. Results showed Pence has a bruised left rotator cuff.
There is no structural damage.
Pence said he woke up Tuesday morning feeling much better, which he credited to head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and his staff. Pence took the MRI and later arrived at Chase Field. There he told the Phillies he thought he could play. He took some swings in the cage with hitting coach Greg Gross and Sheridan watching. They determined he could.
"When I started swinging, I'm letting it eat," Pence said. "I'm ready to go."
"That's good," Manuel said. "Then I hope it eats a lot then."
Perhaps the forced night off allowed Pence to clear his head. He was hitless in his last 15 at-bats entering Tuesday night's game, but he belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
"You just take the day with whatever it gives you," Pence said. "I was just trying to do everything I could to be a good teammate. We didn't have the greatest start [in Monday's 9-5 loss], but I liked the way we finished.
"We've been knocked down right now, but what you find out is what you do once you get knocked down. This team, we've got to keep getting back up. It's early, but it's something to not be taken lightly. So I'm glad to be back in the lineup, but I was also glad to see the guys play the way they did at the end."