SAN FRANCISCO -- Less than a week from the All-Star Break, there’s finally a target date for Marco Scutaro’s return to the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy today said Scutaro will likely rejoin the Giants on Friday and be activated either Friday or Saturday.
Scutaro is scheduled to be off today, play nine innings with Triple-A Fresno tomorrow and then travel to San Francisco. The second baseman is 3-for-19 in eight rehab games between the Arizona League and Fresno, but Bochy said the numbers aren’t going to deter the Giants from bringing him back.
"Looking at the reports, he’s swinging free and easy," Bochy said. "And that’s what’s important to us. He’s got the type of stroke, I don’t think he needs a lot of at-bats. He’ll be honest with us when he gets here Friday."
Bochy remained noncommittal on how often Scutaro will be able to play, but said hitting coach Hensley Meulens talked with Scutaro today and Scutaro is "much more optimistic about the fact he could go out there on more of a daily basis." The Giants met about the upcoming roster moves today, but Bochy said he’ll keep that under wraps until Scutaro is actually activated.
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When Scutaro does return, Bochy said he intends to put him back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. For now, Hunter Pence returns to the leadoff spot tonight and Brandon Belt hits second. Here’s the full Giants lineup against the A’s:
And the Oakland lineup behind Jason Hammel in his A’s debut:
* Bochy returned Pence to the leadoff spot and Blanco to the lower part of the order after having Blanco lead off Tuesday night. Blanco had been getting better swings down in the order, but went hitless in the Giants’ 6-1 loss Tuesday and Bochy said he wanted to put Blanco back where "he was a little more comfortable."
* Angel Pagan flew to Arizona today and will resume baseball activities Thursday.
* Left-hander Drew Pomeranz went through pitcher fielding practice today for the first time since fracturing his glove hand and is close to starting a rehab assignment, manager Bob Melvin said.
Pomeranz could start his rehab in the next few days. Melvin said it still hasn’t been ruled whether Pomeranz will return as a starter or reliever. There isn’t much room for starters in Oakland right now, but Pomeranz began the season as a long reliever in the bullpen and Melvin said he could return to that role.
* With myriad first basemen on his roster, Melvin opted to go with Stephen Vogt at first tonight -- Vogt’s third career start there -- and Brandon Moss in right field. He decided to go with the more experienced outfielder (Moss) in right, Melvin said, because of the deep gap in right-center at AT&T Park.
Still, Melvin added, Vogt is "probably a little more comfortable at first than he is in the outfield," despite his relative lack of playing time there. "He’s done plenty of it in the past," Melvin said. "Just not with us."
* Derek Norris starts tonight against a right-hander. Melvin said John Jaso will catch the series finale tomorrow, an afternoon game.
* It doesn’t sound as though Kyle Blanks (left calf strain) is close to starting a rehab stint.
"He’s able to do most everything, it’s running that’s the problem for him," Melvin said. "It’s still sore to jog, let alone run."
* Hammel has quite the precedent to meet in his first start for the A’s. The A’s have given up just five runs in their last six games. The only other time since 1915 they’ve allowed five or fewer runs in a six-game span was in 1966 -- the Kansas City A’s had an eight-game stretch that year from Sept. 9-18 in which they gave up four total runs.