San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants likely to activate left fielder Nori Aoki on Monday

San Francisco Giants outfielder Nori Aoki, scoring against Colorado in April, is expected to return from the disabled list on Monday.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Nori Aoki, scoring against Colorado in April, is expected to return from the disabled list on Monday. AP

The Giants are on the verge of having their lineup at full strength. Manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday morning that left fielder Nori Aoki is on his way to San Francisco and should be activated Monday if he checks out OK with team doctors.

Aoki, out since June 20 with a fractured fibula, has been playing in rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento, and Bochy said Aoki’s most recent game was his best. Aoki went 2-for-3 with a walk for the River Cats on Saturday and tested his leg by scoring from first base on a triple.

“We’ll evaluate him when he gets here,” Bochy said. “If all’s well with him, then he’ll be activated (Monday).”

Bochy said he hasn’t decided yet what he’ll do with the lineup when Aoki returns. Aoki was thriving in the leadoff spot before his injury. His absence, though, precipitated the move of Matt Duffy into the No. 3 spot, where he has hit well.

Bochy said center fielder Angel Pagan has “been doing a good job” leading off in Aoki’s absence. Pagan’s .292 average out of the leadoff spot this season is by far his highest at any place in the order. Bochy said he’ll consider his lineup options after Sunday’s game with the Oakland Athletics.

“Right now we’re playing well, rolling well,” Bochy said. “So I’ll figure out what I’m going to do.”

As for Sunday, the Giants’ lineup looks like this as they try for a sweep of the A’s:

CF Pagan

2B Panik

3B Duffy

C Posey

RF Pence

1B Belt

SS Crawford

LF Blanco

P Hudson

And the A’s lineup against Hudson:

CF Burns

C Vogt

LF Zobrist

RF Reddick

1B Davis

3B Lawrie

2B Sogard

SS Semien

P Graveman

▪ Hudson has beaten every major-league team except for one, the one he debuted with and pitched for from 1999-2004. That, of course, is the A’s, and crossing that final team off his list would be quite a career accomplishment.

Hudson likely will have to pitch more effectively, though, than in his last outing against the Padres. In his first start back from the DL, Hudson lasted just four innings and gave up three runs on five hits and four walks, throwing 96 pitches.

“Just hope ‘Huddy’ is out there with a little better command than he had to deal with in his last start,” Bochy said. “He was off, I think a little rusty.”

Hudson’s numbers this season haven’t been good – he’s 5-8 with a 4.76 ERA and missed a month with a shoulder strain – but Bochy said he has seen glimpses of vintage Hudson during the season.

“I still like his stuff,” Bochy

▪ With the 2015 Hall of Fame class being inducted Sunday, Bochy was asked about his brief stint managing Randy Johnson, who pitched his last season with the Giants in 2009 and earned his 300th win there. Bochy said Johnson was still an “intense guy,” even at age 45, but made himself available to the Giants’ younger pitchers.

“I think they watched and learned from him,” Bochy said. “And the fact he did win his 300th with us helped motivate them – that it’s not all about trying to have one good year, but trying to be the best you are for a lot of years.”

▪ Andrew Susac (thumb sprain) is “getting better each day” and remains on track to be ready to play when his 15-day DL stay is up, Bochy said.

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