SAN FRANCISCO –- An MRI revealed a small tear in Angel Pagan’s left hamstring that could force the Giants’ centerfielder to undergo a surgical procedure, which would sideline him for six weeks.
Pagan spoke with reporters before Saturday’s game between the Giants and Marlins and had to sit down midway through the 11 minute session.
“It’s a setback; it’s back to zero,” Pagan said in front of his locker in the Giants’ clubhouse.
Pagan wants to get a second opinion before deciding whether going under the knife is his best option. After looking at an MRI, Giants orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki told Pagan there is a new small tear in his hamstring that may require surgery.
“Hopefully he’s got a quicker way to get back in the lineup,” Pagan said of Akizuki. “They’re professionals and they know what they’re doing and I’m just going to follow their instincts. Hopefully he’s got good news for me and I can be back and playing because I’m going crazy right now.”
Pagan said that seeking a second opinion is more difficult over the weekend, but wants to come to a conclusion about his next move as soon as possible.
“You always try to avoid it, but if surgery is the only thing that will repair that, then that’s the way to go,” Pagan said. “But right now it’s too early for me to say if it’s going to happen. I just want to sit down with the doctor and show him the MRI and see what my options are.”
Pagan’s manager Bruce Bochy was also adamant that it’s too early to consider surgery inevitable.
“Are we leaning toward surgery? I can’t say that until we get the other opinions from specialists and they tell us what they think is the best thing to do,” Bochy said. “We never look at surgery as the best option until we get all the information we can get.”
Both Pagan and Bochy used the word ‘frustrating’ multiple times when describing the sequence of events that led the Giants to this predicament. Pagan tried rest, a cortisone shot and a platelet-rich plasma injection and was optimistic that a rehab assignment would prepare him for a return to big league game action.
Pagan was playing with the Single-A San Jose Giants Thursday in Stockton when he pulled up lame running out a ground ball in the ninth inning. He said Saturday that he felt ‘a really loud pop’ as soon as he left the batter’s box.
[REWIND: Pagan carted off field in Stockton]
“That aggressive movement coming out of the box is tough to practice,” Pagan said. “Game speed only happens in games. You can’t play that out in practice.”
Pagan had to be taken off the field in a groundskeeper’s golf cart after hitting the ground near first base.
“I went down because of the frustration,” Pagan said. “I worked really hard and had a lot of faith that the last few options that I did were going to help. I was very optimistic that I was going to be back in the lineup.”
With Pagan looking at a lengthy absence from the Giants’ lineup, Bochy will continue to lean heavily on Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres and Juan Perez. The three have combined to hit .284 (33/116) as centerfielders. Blanco and Torres both own batting averages over .300 when leading off this season.
With qualified understudies on the roster, Pagan understands that he can’t rush the healing process.
“I’m just going to make sure that whatever I have to do, I’m trying to get better and be as strong as possible,” Pagan said. “I’ll make sure that when I come back I’ll be 100 percent and ready to contribute to the team.”
Pagan said his hamstring is “tender” and that the most pain comes when he’s sleeping and makes unintentional movements from side to side.
There were reports out of Stockton that Pagan arrived at Thursday’s game late due to traffic issues. But Pagan put the speculation that he may not have been properly stretched out to rest.
“I got there before the game. I had about three or four innings to get ready. I just made sure I did my whole routine, my whole preparation, and I was ready to go.”
Before coming over to the Giants in an offseason trade in 2011, Pagan dealt with an oblique injury as a member of the New York Mets. But a torn hamstring is something Pagan has no prior experience with.
“This is all new,” Pagan said. “If I was a first baseman maybe I could go through it and play 70 percent. But I depend on my legs. I have a big responsibility for this team: leadoff spot, get on base, steal bases, score and cover a lot of ground in center field. Playing 70 percent for me is not going to do it. People are going to notice Angel Pagan is not OK. And I don’t want to hurt the team; I want to help.”