San Francisco Giants

Jake Peavy (back) ‘heading in the right direction’ after bullpen session

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right-hander Jake Peavy took a step forward in his return from a lower back strain Saturday, throwing off a mound for the first time since landing on the disabled list.

Peavy said he threw about 25 pitches at 70-to-80 percent effort. The focus was on "seeing how my body felt, and it felt quite a bit better," Peavy said. "I think we’re heading in the right direction and I’m excited about it."

The Giants will see how Peavy responds to this throwing session and possibly have him throw again Tuesday. They like to have their pitchers throw to or three bullpens before discussing dates for a rehab assignment.

When Peavy first went on the DL he described his injury as a misalignment of his hips, which was causing his back to flare up. He said he has been doing strength work in his core area to avoid those flare-ups and Saturday was the first test whether his back would stay aligned during the normal action of pitching off a mound.

The next step will be simulating sitting down between innings, which Peavy said is really what aggravated things in his last start April 17. "That’s going to be our test," he said.

"He’s been feeling so much better," manager Bruce Bochy said, "and the fact he can throw a bullpen is a step in the right direction."

* Hunter Pence did not take batting practice today but took fly balls and grounders in the outfield with coach Roberto Kelly and will hit on the field Sunday. Bochy had said after Pence hit Friday that the Giants could have a possible rehab date for Pence by Monday. It will be probably be later -- Bochy said the Giants want to make that decision after Pence has had "four or five days" of BP, so Tuesday or Wednesday is more likely.

"Monday we could ramp it up a little bit as far as the number of swings and those things," Bochy said. "We’ll see how he’s doing."

* Travis Ishikawa played three innings in an extended spring training game Saturday and is scheduled for another five today. "He’s starting to come around," Bochy said.

* The Giants’ lineup against the Angels today:

LF Aoki

2B Panik

CF Pagan

C Posey

RF Maxwell

1B Belt

3B McGehee

SS Crawford

P Hudson

And the Angels’ lineup (including Albert Pujols, who missed two games with hamstring tightness):

SS Aybar

CFTrout

1B Pujols

RF Calhoun

3B Freese

LF Joyce

2B Giavotella

C Butera

P Santiago

* The Giants with a win today would pull to .500 all-time in interleague play. They have a record of 147-148. The Angels’ all-time record is 186-139, a .572 winning percentage that is second-best in the majors.

* Joe Panik’s walk-off single Friday night gave him three go-ahead RBIs in the seventh inning or later this season, tied for most in the N.L. with the Reds’ Todd Frazier and the Padres’ Wil Myers.

Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at sacbee.com/mlb. Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.

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