SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants this morning placed center fielder Angel Pagan on the 15-day disabled list due to lingering back issues and called up infielder Adam Duvall from Triple-A Fresno. Duvall was en route from Texas this morning and should be with the team by first pitch against the San Diego Padres this afternoon.
Pagan has missed the last eight games with what had been termed back inflammation. The Giants had held off placing him on the DL in hopes he would recover without having to miss the 15 days, but manager Bruce Bochy said today that Pagan "just wasn’t coming around."
"He’s got a lower back strain and nerve irritation in there that’s just not coming around fast enough," Bochy said. "This gives him another five days or so to see if we can get this cleared up."
Pagan last played June 14, so the Giants can backdate his DL stay to June 15, making him eligible to rejoin the team next Tuesday. Bochy said the hope is that will be long enough for Pagan, who has been taking swings off a pitching machine and shagging fly balls, to get back to a point where he can play.
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"He can take a couple days off and see if that’ll help calm it down," Bochy said. "I know he’s been wanting to swing the bat, take fly balls, but it doesn’t look like that was helping the cause."
The Giants are 2-6 in the eight games Pagan has missed. For the season, they’re 36-21 in games that Pagan starts and just 9-11 when he doesn’t, so the less time he misses for the Giants, the better.
Duvall, meanwhile, has been tearing through Pacific Coast League pitching this season, hitting .297 with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs in 67 games at Triple-A Fresno. Joe Panik, who was playing with Duvall until being called up last week, gave this scouting report:
"It’s almost like a video game for him," Panik said. "No matter where we went, what park we played in, hitter’s park, pitcher’s park, doesn’t matter. He could put it out of anywhere. He’s just consistently mashing the ball."
PCL stats can sometimes be inflated by the number of hitter’s parks in the league, but Bochy said the hope is Duvall’s offense will translate to the big-league level. Bochy said the plan is to use Duvall off the bench, in double-switch situations, and to possibly get Duvall -- a corner infielder who has played most third base -- a start or two at first.
"I don’t care where you’re at, that’s a lot of home runs," Bochy said. "Sure, the PCL is a little more of a hitter-friendly league. But we saw him in spring training. He’s got easy power."
Duvall, 25, is a native of Louisville, Kentucky, whom the Giants drafted in the 11th round in 2010. Bochy said Duvall will be available off the bench today, as the Giants try to salvage the series finale against the Padres. Here’s the Giants’ lineup:
And the Padres against Lincecum:
* The Giants have dropped the first two games of the series, scoring a total of two runs while facing a pair of starters who began the series with a combined total of three major-league outings. They’ve lost 11 of their last 14 games, as their lead in the N.L. West has dwindled from 9 ½ games on June 8 to three games after their loss last night.
"This has gotten a little long, I’ll admit," Bochy said. "Especially at home. That’s what makes it even more difficult. This is our ballpark, sold out every game, and you like to think this is where you’re going to get right."
The Giants have lost five in a row at home. At the forefront of their recent skid has been the struggles by their starters, who have recorded a combined 5.63 ERA over the last two weeks. Bochy said he and pitching coach Dave Righetti "had a little session yesterday with a couple pitchers," but declined to say what the topic was.
* The good news for the Giants is, after facing starters they knew little to nothing of in the first two games of the series, they’re more familiar with today’s Padres starter, right-hander Ian Kennedy. The bad news is Kennedy has been pretty good against the Giants during his career. Kennedy is 7-3 with a career 2.49 ERA against the Giants, holding the San Francisco hitters to a .209 combined average.
* Tim Lincecum, meanwhile, is coming off a start in Arizona in which he allowed four runs in six innings while striking out only one batter for just the second time in a start in his major-league career. Lincecum has a 6.85 ERA in his four June starts and comes in with an overall ERA (4.90) that’s the fifth-highest among qualifying N.L. pitchers.