LOS ANGELES – At a time when the Giants should be reading the standings and the out-of-town scoreboard, they are reviewing MRI films and reports from back specialists.
Manager Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean, vice president Bobby Evans and CEO Larry Baer held a summit with outfielder Angel Pagan to determine a course of treatment for recurring nerve irritation in his lower back. Surgery has grown from a hazy option to a distinct possibility.
Pagan had a fresh set of films taken while meeting with spinal specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He has a bulging disc and spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the nerve canal, which is causing his pain receptors to fire.
The meeting was less about cajoling Pagan to play through pain and more about figuring a course of treatment, as it was explained to me by team personnel.
Michael Morse also returned from San Francisco, where he had a new MRI taken on his strained left oblique. He was waiting to have to reviewed by team medical personnel and said he was feeling better, but had no idea when he’d be cleared to try swinging a bat again.
At least the Giants have Brandon Belt healthy and back in the lineup. Bochy said it was a tough choice at first base between Belt and Travis Ishikawa at first base for Monday’s critical series opener against Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren, but he’s going with his opening-day starter.
Belt was 0 for 7 in two games since returning from the concussion DL. He only saw one day of live pitching at instructional league in Arizona.
“You’re hoping with a day off, he’ll have a chance to rest his legs and we’ll see some different swings,” Bochy said.
Finally, Tim Hudson threw his side session and remains on schedule to start Wednesday against Clayton Kershaw. The Giants still have time to replace Hudson with Tim Lincecum if the veteran right-hander doesn't come out of the session well.