One piece of the Giants’ injury-scattered lineup was back in place Friday. Shortstop Brandon Crawford returned after missing the last seven games with oblique and calf tightness.
Manager Bruce Bochy said there will be no restrictions on Crawford as the Giants began a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Crawford likely could have played Wednesday, but the Giants gave him extra time to make sure he’s fully ready to go.
Crawford missed five games with oblique tightness from Aug. 26-30 and three games Sept. 1-3 after getting hit by a pitch on his calf. He said Friday he probably tried to come back from the calf injury too quickly, overcompensated with his upper body and re-aggravated the oblique, which caused him to miss another week.
“It’s been long,” Crawford said. “But I’m excited to get back out there.”
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Ehire Adrianza, who was starting to look more comfortable as Crawford’s replacement, returned to the bench. Bochy said he thought Adrianza had “done a really nice job, really gotten himself on track.”
The rest of the Giants’ injured starters remain mostly status quo. Hunter Pence was going to try hitting off a tee Friday, but Bochy said the Giants decided he isn’t ready and “we’re going to hold him back.”
“It’s just been slow progress,” Bochy said.
Bochy said Pence is spending “a lot of time in the training room” hoping to return before the end of the season, and that after a recent game he spotted Pence in the batting cage looking at pitches from a tennis-ball machine to work on timing.
“He’s trying to get ready,” Bochy said. “But he’s not quite there to take some swings.”
Bochy had no updates on outfielders Gregor Blanco or Nori Aoki (concussions), but he did say the Giants are holding out the “possibility” of Aoki returning for the final week of the season. Last week, Bochy indicated Aoki and Blanco’s seasons were probably over, and they’re still likely to be extra cautious with both given the nature of head injuries.
Tim Hudson, meanwhile, threw a bullpen session Friday and said his hip felt OK and he believes he’ll be fine to start Sunday against the Diamondbacks. That would keep Hudson on turn to pitch Sept. 26 against the A’s at the Coliseum – potentially against Barry Zito.
Madison Bumgarner started Friday looking for his 19th win. He’s already the first Giants pitcher to win 18 or more games in back-to-back seasons since Gaylord Perry in 1969. In his last seven starts at AT&T Park, Bumgarner is 7-0 with a 1.18 ERA. The Giants’ lineup:
LF De Aza
And the lineup for the Diamondbacks, who start right-hander Rubby De La Rosa:
P De La Rosa