Zito set to begin rehab assignment Sunday

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants left-hander Barry Zito is set to begin his second rehab assignment of the season Sunday with Class A Advanced San Jose, manager Bruce Bochy told The Associated Press on Friday.

Placed on the disabled list Tuesday retroactive to Aug. 1, Zito will pitch four or five innings for the San Jose Giants.

Zito pitched well in three starts after returning from the DL in late June. But he struggled in his three most recent outings, eventually getting shut down with a recurrence of the right mid-foot sprain that sent him to the DL in April. The move cleared a spot in the rotation for Jonathan Sanchez to return.

Zito had one turn in the rotation skipped and allowed 19 runs in 15 2/3 innings over his last three starts, walking eight batters.

Posey close to getting rid of crutches

SAN FRANCISCO -- Continuing his rehab at AT&T Park, Buster Posey was walking around the Giants clubhouse Friday afternoon, now able to put weight on his surgically repaired left ankle.

Posey was still wearing a boot on his left foot and lower left leg, but he walked with only one crutch under his right arm -- and he should be able to get around without crutches by Sunday or Monday at the latest, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

"He's doing well. He's real close to being able to put all his weight on his leg," Bochy said. "He's got one crutch and can put partial weight on it, but he's coming along fine."

Posey was doing some upper-body workouts in the Giants' weight room and appeared to be in good spirits, stopping to talk with his teammates as he walked around the home clubhouse.

"He seems to be in a great frame of mind with the progress that he's making. I know he'll be glad to get rid of that crutch," Bochy said. "But he's doing well. He's doing real well. It's good to see him here and making the progress that he's making."

Bochy relying on matchups to fill out card

SAN FRANCISCO -- With Aubrey Huff and Pablo Sandoval manning the corner-infield spots on a everyday basis and Trade Deadline acquisitions Jeff Keppinger, Carlos Beltran and Orlando Cabrera manning their spots every game, Bruce Bochy's list of daily decisions has shortened considerably.

But the most difficult choices remain whom to play in left and center field. Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand, Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres will continue to split time in those spots, with Torres getting starting Friday in center and Schierholtz in left.

Bochy makes lineup decisions based primarily on matchups, so he said to expect Rowand and Ross in the lineup Saturday afternoon with the Phillies sending lefty Cole Hamels to the mound.

Schierholtz had seemingly earned an everyday job before his recent 4-for-35 skid, and Bochy said he will continue to get most of the starts against right-handed pitchers. Rowand is hitting .312 against left-handers and figures to see most of his time against southpaw starters.

That leaves Torres and Ross, a right-handed hitter with no notable platoon split. Torres has struggled mightily against lefties this season, as his .114 average against them ranks sixth-lowest in the Majors among players with at least 30 plate appearances, but Bochy again emphasized the potential impact the speedy switch-hitter can have on a lineup.

"I'd like to get Torres going, too. I think he does give us a dynamic that we need in that leadoff spot with his speed," Bochy said. "He does have something that I think this club needs."

Worth noting

• Before Friday night's game against the Phillies, Andres Torres received the Heart and Hustle Award, presented to him by Jim Davenport, who has spent more than 20 years with the Giants organization as a player, coach, manager and front-office executive.

• Following the roster moves that saw Mark DeRosa activated, Brandon Belt optioned to Triple-A Fresno and left-hander Alex Hinshaw designated for assignment, the Giants gave right-hander Jose Casilla (younger brother of reliever Santiago Casilla) his unconditional release.

Right-hander Waldis Joaquin was added to the 40-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Fresno.

• Huff is batting .341 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and four walks over his last 13 games, and Bochy thinks Huff is starting to get back on track despite struggling at the plate all season. Huff is hitting .244 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs. At this time last season, Huff was batting .312 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs.

"I think he's swinging with more confidence right now," Bochy said of Huff. "He is the one guy we probably grinded pretty hard that first half, and I think he was close to being out of gas there, to be honest. He needed a break, and that's why we had [Belt] up here for a while to help him out there, get him off the field late in the game and give him a day or two off. I think he's getting his second wind and starting to get some better swings."