SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants have an action plan for Angel Pagan’s irritated lower back. What they don’t have is a strong notion of when he’ll return to the lineup.
Pagan was examined Wednesday by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles and will remain there to have an epidural injection on Thursday to treat a bulging disc and narrowing of the nerve passageway in the spine. He will rest through the weekend and begin baseball activities on Monday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“We’ll evaluate him and see where he’s at,” Bochy said. “We’ll try this again and see if they can calm the nerve issue down.”
Pagan already had one epidural in June that did not bring lasting relief. He said he had more than one injection since he last played June 14. That was the game Pagan took a bad route and let a flare to right-center get past him for a game-winning inside-the-park home run, although he said he injured his back while running the bases earlier that day.
Pagan said on Tuesday that he did not expect to discuss surgery as an option with Watkins, but to get a second opinion and a course of treatment.
“He sounds upbeat,” Bochy said. “I think he has a little sense of relief he has this second opinion and more of a sense of what’s going on.”
In other rehab news, Brandon Belt will play first base again for Fresno on Wednesday, rejoin the team on Thursday and the plan remains to activate him from the DL prior to Friday’s series opener at San Diego.
Marco Scutaro is expected to play five innings for the Giants’ Arizona League affiliate on Wednesday as well, and Bochy is encouraged that the second baseman keeps building his workload with no setbacks thus far.
“He’s determined to get over the hump with this and keep grinding through it,” Bochy said. “Once he gets stretched out to seven or eight innings, we’ll have a better idea. It’s encouraging to see that we haven’t had to stop the rehab.”
Scutaro hasn’t played all season because of a chronic issue in his lower back and hip.
Scutaro’s rehab assignment can last a maximum of 20 days, but the Giants are under no obligation to activate from the disabled list after that time.