7/12/2014 5:31 P.M. ET
Bochy believes bats are ready to come alive
By Ryan Hood / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Marco Scutaro walked into the clubhouse for the first time this season on Friday, and Joe Panik instantly noticed a change in his surroundings from his locker stall.
"You can just tell he's such a good clubhouse guy," Panik said Saturday. "The moment he walked through the doors yesterday, everybody got so excited and you could just feel the energy in this clubhouse increase."
Guys left their chairs and walked around and they caught up with their well-respected friend and teammate who'd been missing for the season's first three months. According to Panik, the clubhouse became a livelier place. Manager Bruce Bochy sees signs of the same uptick in energy occurring with the team's bats.
"As a group, it seems like we're getting better at-bats," Bochy said before Saturday afternoon's game.
The Giants scored four runs in the first two innings of their 5-0 victory on Friday, led by Pablo Sandoval's two-run home run. Friday marked the second time in three games that they've scored five runs or more, but it was just the fifth time in the Giants' last 15 games that they've scored five or more runs. It's no accident that those five games are the only five they've won in that 15-game stretch.
Still, Bochy has liked his team's composure through its month-long slide.
"That's the time when guys can get a little cranky, maybe do some finger-pointing, but they hunkered down together and they've been playing through it," Bochy said. "Though, they know we have to pick it up and play better ball."
They did just that on Friday night -- albeit against Arizona's Mike Bolsinger, who entered the game with a 5.13 ERA -- but progress is progress, and Bochy said he saw better pitch selection from his team.
The training room is getting a bit emptier, too. First baseman Brandon Belt recently returned from a broken left thumb. Scutaro made his 2014 debut on Saturday. Catalyst and leadoff hitter Angel Pagan is expected back shortly after the All-Star break.
Given his livelier clubhouse, which is becoming a healthier clubhouse, Bochy sees better days not too far ahead.
"This has been a tale of two different teams here, with the first part of the first half to what's happened the last three weeks," Bochy said, "but I see us coming out of it."
Giants hope to get Pagan back shortly after break
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sunday is Angel Pagan Bobblehead Day at AT&T Park. The player of honor will be across the country rehabbing in Florida, and there's not yet a timetable for when he'll return to playing baseball on the shores of McCovey Cove.
Manager Bruce Bochy said before Saturday afternoon's game against the D-backs that it's "probably going to be a few days after the break," but that he does not have a target date. Pagan hasn't taken any swings yet in his rehab from a back injury, complicating matters in projecting his return.
The original hope was Pagan would return for the three-game series against the Cardinals, a week and a half ago. Instead, Pagan went to Los Angeles to be examined by a specialist. Now the hope is he'll return shortly after next week's All-Star break.
Pagan said before visiting the specialist that he's had what felt like a bulging disk in his back that is pinching a nerve and causing pain in his legs. He's had multiple injections, but nothing has brought relief.
Pagan is batting .307 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 63 games this season.
• Saturday was a planned day off for Brandon Crawford. Bochy has wanted to give his shortstop a rest, and with an afternoon game following Friday night's game, he deemed it the right time. Plus, Bochy said he's been impressed by Joaquin Arias' recent at-bats, so he wanted to get him in the lineup.
• As part of Cancer Awareness Day, the Giants paid tribute to former pitcher Dave Dravecky with an on-field ceremony before Saturday afternoon's game. The cancer survivor was honored for overcoming cancer and learning to live without his left arm, which had to be amputated due to the disease. Dravecky addressed the crowd and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
• Bochy said before the game that he has not yet determined what the order for the team's starting rotation will be after the All-Star break.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.