OAKLAND – Angel Pagan and the Giants were sufficiently concerned about his hamstring to order an MRI exam, which the center fielder underwent on Tuesday.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the initial read is that Pagan only has bursitis, and that none of his hamstring tendons sustained a tear. But Pagan said a full determination hasn’t been made yet.
Pagan planned to try some light activities but it sounds as if he won’t be available for anything beyond a pinch-hitting appearance off the bench Tuesday, and even that might be too optimistic.
At some point, the disabled list will enter the conversation if Pagan doesn’t improve. But for now, that isn’t being discussed.
Pagan wasn’t the only injury update prior to Tuesday’s game at Oakland.
Right-hander Santiago Casilla underwent knee surgery to remove a cyst, and Bochy was told the right-hander’s procedure went as expected. No timetable has been determined for his return as of yet, but Casilla has said he expects to be out until the All-Star break.
Add Marco Scutaro to the list of players fighting the respiratory “crud,” too. Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval are improved, though.
The news of the day is left-hander Michael Kickham, who becomes just the 10th Giants starting pitcher to make his major league debut since Brian Sabean became the general manager 17 years ago.
Kickham’s minor league roommate was Brett Bochy, the manager’s son. So Bruce Bochy knows a little more about him than he otherwise would. The manager had a brief chat with Kickham, just telling him to relax and locate his low-90s fastball, his hard slider and sharp curve. All three are “major league pitches,” in the manager’s estimation.
The Giants will need the left-hander to start again Sunday at Busch Stadium – a homecoming of sorts for the Missouri State product. After that, nothing is guaranteed.
That’s because the Giants have two days off the following week, so they could decide to skip the No. 5 starter. They wouldn’t need Kickham to start again until June 15, so if they skip him, they’d almost surely option him back to Fresno for a fresh reliever.
Of course, skipping the No. 5 starter would mean the other four guys would be pitching on regular rest. And over the years, the Giants have been very consistent about giving the rotation the extra time in between starts. It might be particularly important now, since we all know how hard the rotation has worked while winning the World Series two of the last three years.
Bochy said no decision has been made about the rotation going forward, and he didn’t want Kickham to be thinking about that as he prepared for his major league debut.
“I don’t want him to be thinking about anything else,” Bochy said. “Sure, we could be better off giving these guys extra time, which we normally do. But at the same time, we’ve got to do what’s best for the club.”
If Kickham shows he can pitch effectively and stay under control against big league hitters, that would make it a lot easier for Bochy to justify keeping him in there and giving the rest of the rotation extra rest.
(If they do give everyone the extra rest, Kickham – or another pitcher -- would start June 9 at Arizona.)