Programming note: Padres-Giants coverage starts tonight at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy wasn't going to sugarcoat it when talking about his depleted outfield.
"This is a big challenge, there's no getting around it," Bochy said. "You lost your leadoff hitter and a guy that hit in the heart of the order. Both are catalyst-type players. It makes it hard to overcome."
The Giants are looking at weeks without Nori Aoki and Hunter Pence. Aoki is in a cast for at least two weeks after getting placed on the DL with a fractured fibula. Pence is still wearing a splint at nights as he tries to overcome tendinitis in his left wrist, and Bochy said the right fielder won't swing for at least five to seven more days.
So ... on June 24, Angel Pagan is the only healthy member of the planned outfield. Who called that one?
To get through this, Bochy will use Gregor Blanco just about every day, and he said with "Gregor, Angel, Maxy and Belt, you'll see us mix it up and play them all" in the outfield. Travis Ishikawa, called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday, also will see some time in left field. It seems Belt will get the most time out there, in part because Bochy would like to get Andrew Susac's bat in the lineup. That would push Buster Posey to first base far more often.
"That's a pretty good bat to put in the lineup," Bochy said of Susac, who is hitting .265 in limited time but has seven hits in his last 16 at-bats. "I do think his more recent at-bats have been better. His timing was off, and when that happens and you're not playing everyday it can be more difficult."
This is the plan, then, because while the Giants will look into trades, you're going to get fleeced if you call around about outfielders in June and other teams know you're this desperate. The Giants also don't feel they have an option in the minors. Mac Williamson hasn't played enough the last two seasons because of Tommy John surgery, Juan Perez is currently hurt and Bochy said Jarrett Parker "is not Major League ready."
The Giants didn't just lose a left fielder when Aoki got hurt, they also lost their leadoff hitter. Bochy said Pagan will hit leadoff for the most part, and they're hopeful that jolts him out of what has been a subpar season thus far. Pagan has just one extra-base hit in his last 99 plate appearances. Belt hasn't been any better lately, with just five hits in his last 42 at-bats.
Like Bochy said. This is a challenge, there's no getting around it.
--- Ishikawa got the call from Bobby Evans at about 1 a.m. and said it validated his decision to stay with the organization that designated him for assignment May 25. Ishikawa had financial reasons to stay in his contract, but said he also just didn't want to go anywhere else.
"Having the Giants know me here and know what I can do, it just felt right," he said. "It felt right to stay."
Ishikawa said he didn't take it personally when he was DFA'd. "Having gone through it six or seven times now, it never gets easier," he said, "But I anticipated it."
--- Some good news: Sergio Romo is available tonight. His hyperextended knee is a little sore, but Bochy said he's good for a batter or two.
--- The Giants signed second-round pick Andrew Suarez, a lefty from Miami. First-rounder Phil Bickford is the only one of their top 12 picks who hasn't signed yet.