OAKLAND -- Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is still nursing his left hamstring and is out of the lineup for the third consecutive game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan had an MRI that showed some bursitis in the area, but that Pagan is still considered day-to-day and could be available to pinch-hit depending on how he felt during pre-game warm-ups.
That puts Gregor Blanco in center and batting leadoff with Andres Torres in left. Torres is in a 10-for-18 stretch and hitting right-handers well this season, and Bochy was asked if he considered having Torres bat leadoff instead. Bochy answered he prefers to have Torres seventh -- between Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford -- to break up the lefties at the bottom of the lineup.
Tonight marks the big-league debut of left-hander Mike Kickham, rated the fifth-best prospect in the Giants organization before the season by Baseball America. Kickham walked into the clubhouse around 4 p.m., and found in his locker -- nothing. Well, a rack's worth of coathangers. One of the Giants' clubhouse staff then came over and unloaded his bag, including jersey No. 59. The last Giant to wear 59 -- Guillermo Mota.
"I look forward to it," Bochy said. "He's a kid we think a lot about. He's been throwing the ball well in Fresno, we need some help, and with Vogelsong being out he'll get some starts."
The question right now is how many starts. The Giants need a fifth starter again June 2 but, after that, not again until June 15 because of scheduling. With three off days in that span, they could get by with their four regulars pitching on standard rest. But they could also choose to use a fifth starter and give the others an extra day. Bochy said the rotation workload will be taken into consideration when making that decision.
"We'll see where we're at and whether we think we're better off giving these guys the extra time," Bochy said. "We normally do. We know that. But at the same time we've got to do what's best for the club."
Tonight, though, it's Kickham's show. Here's the full lineup the Giants have behind him:
And the A's lineup that he'll be facing:
A's manager Bob Melvin said his team doesn't have a ton of information on Kickham, but, "These days with technology I don't think there's much of a surprise as far as pitch complement and stuff like that. It's actually standing up there and seeing the movement."
Bochy said Giants reliever Santiago Casilla had surgery today to remove a cyst from his right knee and that, "From what I hear it went well." Bochy said he didn't have any further information yet, such as how long Casilla will be sidelined.
On the A's injury front, outfielder Josh Reddick went 1-for-3 in a rehab game at Single-A Stockton yesterday and "felt good," Melvin said. Reddick was expected to play in the outfield tonight for the Triple-A River Cats and DH tomorrow. "We'll see where we're at (after that)," Melvin said. "Maybe play in the field again the next day."
A's pitchers had a brief session in the batting cage this afternoon. The series moves to San Francisco for two games starting tomorrow, meaning starters Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin are in line to get some at-bats.
Melvin said the main emphasis for the pitchers has been on bunting, including some work off the pitching machine, and so far they've done a pretty good job. "What you want is in bunt situations to be able to get the ball down, and anything else after that's probably gravy," Melvin said.
He might have a tough time convincing his pitchers of that. Milone is 2-for-11 with a home run in his major-league career and hit .273 in 44 at-bats in the minors. Griffin has one minor-league plate appearance to his name and none in the majors, though Melvin said the right-hander "has a nice swing."
One more note on Kickham -- he has been a regular roommate in the minors of Bochy's son Brett. Despite that, the elder Bochy said he can't say he knows Kickham well -- "But yeah, there's probably a little more excitement for me to see this kid pitch."