SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants don’t have their full lineup together yet, but the missing components are not hidden in the trainer’s room any longer.
Center fielder Angel Pagan (on the DL with a strained left hamstring) is beginning his rehab assignment with Single-A San Jose at Stockton Thursday night. He’s expected to hit leadoff and play five innings.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval will join Pagan on Friday. The Panda has progressed so well in his rehab from a strained foot that his rehab assignment was moved up a day. He’ll get at-bats as the designated hitter on Friday and then start at third base on Saturday.
Sandoval has dropped a few pounds over the past two weeks while doing extra conditioning work, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“He’s eager to get going,” Bochy said.
Sandoval will be activated on Monday, when he’s eligible. Pagan could return even earlier than that, Bochy said.
And shortstop Brandon Crawford isn’t expected to be out much longer, either. The two sprained fingers on his right hand were improved after he missed Wednesday’s game. Crawford isn’t in the lineup but he took batting practice and ground balls. He’s expected to be available off the bench and is likely to start Friday.
“It won’t be long before we have our everyday lineup out there,” Bochy said.
One more injury update: Santiago Casilla (surgery to remove a bone cyst below his right knee) threw off a bullpen mound and pitching coach Dave Righetti was pleased with his progress. He’s expected to beat the original timeline and return before the All-Star break.
Sad news for Barry Zito, whose father, Joe, died Wednesday following a long illness. He was 84.
[RELATED: Barry Zito's father passes away]
A noted composer/arranger, Joe Zito was instrumental in his son's young pitching career. He sought out the best coaches, including former Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones, and noted pitching theologian Dick Mills.
Barry Zito will make his scheduled start on Saturday. Services for his father will be held next month.
“The loss of my father, Joseph Zito, has presented me with a difficulty I could not predict,” Barry Zito said in a statement. “Through his unprecedented dedication as a father, he instilled in me the faculties which have enabled me to handle all of life's challenges in a positive way. He will forever be in my heart. God bless my father, and I know that one day I will be reunited with he and my mother Roberta.”
Giants CEO Larry Baer issued a statement as well:
“The Giants organization was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Barry’s father, Joseph Zito. The special relationship that Barry and his dad shared showed so many of us in the Giants family how special the bond between a father and son can be. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Barry, his wife Amber and his sisters, Bonnie and Sally.”