SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy made official on Wednesday what has seemed inevitable for days: First baseman Brandon Belt will indeed be activated from the disabled list on Friday when San Francisco opens a three-game series at San Diego.
Friday will mark precisely eight weeks since Belt fractured his left thumb on May 9, when a pitch from Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm. Belt, who initially was estimated to be sidelined for six weeks, ranked among the National League leaders with nine home runs when he was injured. He also hit .264 with 18 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .504 in his first 35 games.
Michael Morse, who started his 32nd game at first base Wednesday against St. Louis, will return to left field when Belt returns. Though Gregor Blanco will remain the primary option in center field while Angel Pagan's sidelined, Bochy said that he'll consider using Tyler Colvin at that spot. This was a not-so-veiled challenge to Blanco, who entered Wednesday in a .154 skid (6-for-39) spanning his previous 11 games.
"We signed [Blanco] to a pretty good deal ($2.53 million for one year) to give us coverage for times like this," Bochy said.
Panda making late push for All-Star votes
SAN FRANCISCO -- Online-only voting for the 2014 All-Star Game commenced last Thursday, which signaled the arrival of the final push for this year's balloting. The Giants have the National League's second-best record but no players atop their positions in the voting.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is one of three players -- Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey are the others -- in third at his respective position. Sandoval trails the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez by roughly 384,000 votes and the Mets' David Wright by fewer than 150,000 votes.
While the Giants have maintained throughout the season that they don't focus on All-Star appearances, Sandoval's recovery from a slow start to the season has increased his worthiness to be the NL's starter at the hot corner. Entering Wednesday night's game, he'd raised his batting average 100 points from .171 on May 10 to .271. He hit .341 (60-for-176) with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in that span.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Gillette Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 5 p.m. PT on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, July 6, beginning at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Pagan to receive epidural injection to ease back pain
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants must maintain a little more patience regarding center fielder Angel Pagan, who will receive an epidural injection Thursday in an attempt to ease his back woes.
Pagan and Dave Groeschner, the Giants head athletic trainer, spent Wednesday in Los Angeles visiting spinal expert Dr. Robert Watkins, who recommended the injection. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Pagan will return to San Francisco after receiving the shot, which will require him to rest for two to three days. The Giants' medical staff then will re-evaluate Pagan to determine the next course of action.
Bochy spoke with Groeschner, who relayed Pagan's mood. "He seems upbeat," Bochy said. "I think he had a little sense of relief that he has another opinion and a better idea of what's going on. It's that nerve, and we're going to try to calm it down."
Second baseman Marco Scutaro, the other Giant with back issues, was expected to play five innings Wednesday in an Arizona League game as he continues to increase his baseball activity gradually.
Bochy acknowledged that the Giants won't consider activating Scutaro from the disabled list until he proves he can play a full game. Scutaro apparently has embraced the challenge.
"He's determined that he's over the hump [and] he'll keep grinding through it," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.