7/9/2014 1:58 A.M. ET
Giants encouraged by Scutaro's rehab progress
By Chris Haft and Ryan Hood / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Mired in a monthlong slump, the Giants could use a boost. It sounds like Marco Scutaro is getting closer to potentially providing one.
Scutaro (lower back strain) went 1-for-3 with an RBI in five innings Monday night in his first game at Triple-A Fresno. The reports manager Bruce Bochy has received regarding Scutaro's progress are all positive. The 38-year-old is moving around well at second base, is comfortable diving for balls and hasn't been limited in the batter's box.
"He feels good. I think he's excited where he's at, so that's good news," Bochy said before Tuesday night's game. "We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with him."
Bochy said hope exists that Scutaro could play more than a few games per week upon returning, as was the original hope, but he stressed the team won't have a better idea of that until Scutaro plays a full nine-inning game and plays back-to-back games. The plan was for Scutaro to rest Tuesday night and then play nine innings on Wednesday.
"We're knocking on wood on this with he and [Angel] Pagan," Bochy said. "This has been a long road for Marco. You kind of lose hope and you start getting that doubt in there, but now it looks like he's starting to make some really nice progress, and this really could happen here in July.
"This is all good news, really good news for us."
Scutaro has gone 3-for-15 with a double and RBI in seven rehab games between Fresno and the Arizona League Giants.
As for Pagan (lower back strain), he will continue his rehab in Arizona on Wednesday and Bochy's hope remains that his leadoff hitter will return "real close after the All-Star Game."
Machi ejected after disputing balk call in eighth
OAKLAND -- Giants reliever Jean Machi was ejected from Tuesday night's 6-1 loss against the Oakland A's, becoming San Francisco's second player to get tossed this season.
Machi apparently was upset by the balk that plate umpire Angel Hernandez called on him during the eighth inning. The balk advanced Nate Freiman from second to third base, making it easier for him to score on Alberto Callaspo's single.
Machi was ejected after the inning ended on Nick Punto's double-play grounder.
Center fielder Angel Pagan was the other Giants player to be ejected from a game this year, receiving the thumb in an April 21 game at Colorado.
After leadoff trial, Pence returns to No. 2 spot
OAKLAND -- After just five games, it appears the Hunter Pence-at-leadoff-experiment is over for the Giants. Manager Bruce Bochy turned the lineup blender on again before Tuesday night's game, and the results were a return to the leadoff spot for Gregor Blanco and the two-hole for Pence.
"Hunter, he doesn't care where he hits," Bochy said. "He can hit anywhere in the lineup -- first, second, third, fourth, fifth ... he's comfortable. I think Blanco's been getting better swings off, so I'm just going to put a couple speed guys up there at the top of the order."
In five games batting leadoff, Pence hit .368 (7-for-19). Blanco has three hits in his last 25 at-bats and is batting .211 this season from the leadoff spot. He's batted .238 (21-for-88) in lineup slots two through nine.
Still, after the Giants were blanked on Monday night for the fourth time in their last eight games, Bochy deemed the time right for another lineup shakeup.
"You don't get shutout; you find a way to get runs on [the scoreboard]," Bochy said. "It's going to be a matter of us getting everybody doing something to make a contribution, and that's what happened earlier. We had some guys struggling, but at the back end of the order, they were bailing us out.
"Early, [Angel] Pagan and [Michael] Morse were hot, then [Pablo] Sandoval and Pence got hot, so [the streakiness] has hit everybody. It's going to take three of four guys getting hot with the bat now."
The Giants' offensive malaise has been most apparent with runners in scoring position. They've hit .133 (8-for-60) with in those situations in their last 11 games.
Vacaville teacher to represent Giants at All-Star Game
OAKLAND -- Major League Baseball, Target and People magazine on Tuesday announced the 30 winners in the "Target Presents People All-Star Teachers" campaign, which celebrates remarkable current and retired teachers who make an impact on the lives of their students and communities.
All 30 winners, one representing each MLB club, will be included in All- Star Week activities and recognized during the pregame ceremony of the All-Star on Tuesday, July 15, at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Tracy Ruiz of Vacaville, Calif., was selected to represent the Giants. Fans nationwide cast their votes at AllStarTeachers.com to select 30 winners from a pool of 90 finalists.
Additionally, Eric Stonestreet, a Dodgers fan who plays a teacher on Modern Family; Matthew Morrison, a Mets fan who plays a teacher on FOX's Glee; and AJ Calloway of Extra TV, a Yankees fan whose mom is a retired principal and sister is a current principal, served alongside Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez as "All-Star Teachers" Ambassadors to support the program.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.