San Francisco Giants

Aoki not ready to return but expected back soon

San Francisco Giants outfielder Nori Aoki gears up before his at bat as he rehabs with the Sacramento River Cats at the Raley Field Wednesday July 22, 2015 in West Sacramento.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Nori Aoki gears up before his at bat as he rehabs with the Sacramento River Cats at the Raley Field Wednesday July 22, 2015 in West Sacramento. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The Giants had entertained the possibility of activating Nori Aoki for this weekend’s Bay Bridge Series against the A’s, but after watching his workout on Thursday’s off day decided Aoki could use more at-bats in the minors first.

Aoki, then, was leading off for the River Cats in Albuquerque on Friday night instead of for the Giants in San Francisco. Manager Bruce Bochy said Aoki – returning from a broken leg – could play two more rehab games for Sacramento before rejoining the Giants.

“We’re OK right now in the outfield,” Bochy said. “It just allows you to make sure the player’s ready, make sure he’s had enough at-bats.”

When Aoki does return, the Giants ostensibly will have their roster healthy for the first time in a while (except for backup catcher Andrew Susac, who has a right thumb sprain). Bochy will be able to run out a lineup of regulars, with Aoki, Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence in the outfield, an infield of Belt-Panik-Crawford-Duffy, and the red-hot Buster Posey behind the plate.

And right now, Bochy said, that prospect gives him confidence. He said he does not expect the Giants to be active before the July 31 trade deadline.

“I can’t say I expect something,” Bochy said. “I like this group. I don’t think there’s something close right now. … These are the guys that we have and we’ll be taking through August and September.”

The Giants don’t appear to have any deals imminent – or even close – and likely would look to add depth rather than a high-profile player. The roster consists mostly of players who have guided the Giants to postseason success, and they are unlikely to replace those players.

With six potential starters, including Ryan Vogelsong, and a bullpen that has some depth at Triple A, Bochy said he feels “pretty good” about his team.

“If something makes sense and makes us better, I know something will get done,” Bochy said. “(But) I think if you look at our club, we’re pretty established.”

* The Giants’ lineup for Friday night’s opener against the A’s:

CF Pagan

2B Panik

3B Duffy

C Posey

RF Pence

1B Belt

SS Crawford

LF Blanco

P Peavy

* Bochy said Susac “seems to be doing well” and likely will return after his 15 days on the DL are up. However, Bochy added that Hector Sanchez’s play in Susac’s stead “gives us time to make sure (Susac is) ready.”

* Tim Lincecum has not addressed reporters since it was revealed that he’s dealing with a degenerative hip issue, and Bochy said he’s aware that the news has caused a stir among fans. Bochy, though, said he’s confident that Lincecum will pitch again for the Giants this season.

Bochy said Lincecum is expected to begin throwing off flat ground in of two days and could throw off a mound in “five days or so.” Bochy did not suggest in what role Lincecum would rejoin the Giants.

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