Despite getting beat by the San Diego Padres behind a poor display from Tim Hudson, last night, not all was bad for the San Francisco Giants. Things improved on the injury front, for the team chasing down the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League west, who currently lead the way in the wildcard. First baseman, Brandon Belt, and centre fielder, Angel Pagan both returned to the starting lineup, while left fielder/first baseman Michael Morse pinch-hit.
Pagan was suffering from an injury which has given him problems all year: A sore back. However, despite missing the full Arizona Diamondbacks series, the leadoff hitter returned to the number one spot in the lineup last night, after an MRI on his back came out negative, thankfully. What started as a late scratch from last Monday’s lineup gradually prompted much worry for all Giants fans, but was finally quelled last night. Often considered the catalyst of the lineup, it is crucially important that Pagan is in the lineup in this, the last week of the season.
Belt has been sidelined for the vast majority of the season. A broken thumb left him on the DL for a while, followed by a series of concussions. However, despite having not seen live pitching since the sixth of August, Belt made a start at first, last night. He pinch-hit in the series finale of the Diamondbacks series, and had a very successful AB in the top of the ninth. He drew a walk, and proved that despite missing a lot of action, he still has the eye of a major leaguer.
After taking batting practice two days ago, Morse seemed to be struggling more than originally thought. He had been suffering from a strained oblique injury, and was deemed to have not made much, if any, progress. However, last night, he pinch hit, and eventually logged a couple of innings in the field, and had two ABs – striking out twice, though. The Giants go at it again tomorrow, led by Yusmeiro Petit. It will be interesting to see if Pagan, Belt and Morse will be in the lineup, despite their respective injuries.