SF@SD: Posey injures finger, exits game next inning

SAN DIEGO -- A day after he was hit in the throwing hand trying to block a pitch in the dirt, Giants catcher Buster Posey was out of the starting lineup Wednesday with a bruised ring finger and torn fingernail.

Posey had the finger wrapped before Wednesday's game in San Diego, and manager Bruce Bochy is hopeful his All-Star backstop will return to the lineup Thursday when the Giants begin a four-game series against the D-backs at AT&T Park.

"I'm hoping it's day to day," Bochy said. "He'll deal with his finger, and if he gets the swelling down, he's good to go tomorrow."

Bochy noted Posey was fortunate it was his ring finger that took the brunt of the blow and not one of the digits used to grip the ball.

Posey was replaced in the lineup by Hector Sanchez, who batted seventh. Johnny Monell, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday, will serve as Sanchez's backup. Monell, a seven-year Minor Leaguer, is awaiting his Major League debut.

Bochy frustrated by hitting with men on base

PIT@SF: Bochy on offensive struggles in loss to Bucs

SAN DIEGO -- Over the course of a baseball season, some losses understandably sting more than others. Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday night's 3-2 defeat in San Diego was one of them.

After the game, in which the Giants stranded 10 runners and went 3-for-15 with men in scoring position, Bochy stayed up until midnight on the phone with general manager Brian Sabean. Hitting coaches Hensley Meulens and Joe Lefebvre were also present, and Bochy put the phone on speaker.

"Even with where we're at, and we're down to 20-something games, we still want to work on things," Bochy said. "This doesn't stop us trying to get better. The last thing you want to do is say, 'Well, we'll play this out.' We've got work to do to get better, so there's a good feeling when we go into next year."

The primary topic of discussion during the phone call was hitting with men on base, which has plagued the Giants for pretty much the entire second half of the season.

"We've done a lot of situational hitting, in the cage and out on the field," Bochy said. "I do think you can put too much pressure on them by talking about it too much, but at the same time, we've got to get the big elephant out of the closet."

Before batting practice Wednesday afternoon, Bochy instructed his coaches to trim a few pitches from each player's round. Too much pregame prep work, Bochy said, can defeat its purpose.

"You get to a point where there's a diminishing return on hitting," Bochy said. "Fatigue sets in, and that's when the bad habits come into play."

Worth noting

• As expected, Barry Zito will head to the bullpen when Matt Cain makes his return to the starting rotation Saturday. In four relief appearances this year, Zito has allowed six earned runs in five innings and has surrendered three homers.

Angel Pagan was out of the starting lineup Wednesday as Bochy continues the "two-on, one-off" schedule with his center fielder. Pagan returned to the Giants on Friday after missing more than three months with a left hamstring tear that required surgery.

Marco Scutaro was out of the lineup Wednesday for a second consecutive game as he nurses back soreness that has lingered for much of the season. Though Scutaro has been plagued with back issues since June, Bochy sounded confident that the ususal offseason rest will be all Scutaro needs to heal.