ST. LOUIS -- Ever wonder why Giants right fielder Hunter Pence looks so awkward when throwing?
There is a physiological explanation.
Pence, 31, told the FOX broadcasters before Game 1 of the NLCS that he has Scheuermann's Disease, a spinal disorder that he likely developed as an adolescent.
The condition affects the vertebrae, and the way Pence described it, he has no flexibility in his thoracic spine.
"That's why he throws the way he does," Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said. "He has no rotation in the mid-spine."
Scheuermann's Disease, according to spine-health.com, increases the normal roundback in the upper spine, often making a person appear round-shouldered.
Pence obviously is quite functional -- he has played in 383 consecutive regular-season games, the longest streak in the majors, and since 2008 only Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez have appeared in more games.
Only once did Pence recall noticing that he had a problem -- in 2013 during his first spring training with the Giants.
Groeschner and the Giants' training staff had asked Pence to work on his scapula. Pence reported that the exercises hurt, and the team backed off, reasoning that the player knew his body.
Pence was not even aware of his condition until it was revealed in his physical before he signed his five-year, $90 million contract with the Giants in Sept. 2013.
He's different, in part because his body is different. Different and special.