SAN DIEGO -- Second baseman Marco Scutaro could move several steps closer next week to rejoining the Giants, if he can remain physically whole for another day or so.
Scutaro was expected to play six innings with San Francisco's Arizona League affiliate Saturday night. If Scutaro, sidelined all year by back problems, appears fit when he's examined after that game, he'll likely report to Triple-A Fresno to continue his Minor League injury rehabilitation stint. Giants manager Bruce Bochy conveyed this probability Saturday.
Entering Saturday, the 38-year-old Scutaro had played 17 innings at second and was batting .182 (2-for-11) with a double. If Scutaro were to advance to Fresno, he'd work on steadily building his stamina until he could play nine innings. At that point, the Giants would seriously consider reinstating Scutaro, the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 National League Championship Series who hit .319 in 188 games as a Giant from 2012-13.
Entering Saturday, Giants second basemen were hitting .174, next-to-last in the NL, and owned a .559 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), 13th in the league.
Pitch hits Sandoval's arm, forces early exit
SAN DIEGO -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval left Saturday's game against San Diego in the first inning after being struck with a pitch from Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne, which caused a left elbow contusion.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy categorized Sandoval's playing status as day to day and indicated that the switch-hitter would not start Sunday's series finale.
"My guess is he's going to be pretty sore," Bochy said.
Actually, "sore" was Sandoval's one-word description of his condition as he left Petco Park's visitors' clubhouse.
Batting left-handed against the right-handed Despaigne, Sandoval swung at an 0-1 slider that broke toward him and hit him on the left forearm near the elbow. Bochy and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner examined Sandoval, who was in obvious pain. Sandoval remained in the game for one more pitch, as Brandon Belt was thrown out on a stolen-base attempt to end the inning.
Joaquin Arias replaced Sandoval when the Giants took the field for the Padres' half of the inning.