SAN FRANCISCO -- Given their struggles in his absence last season, the Giants are all too familiar with the pitfalls of life minus Angel Pagan. They remain hopeful the lower back stiffness that caused him to miss a seventh consecutive game Monday won't have them tempting their fate without him for much longer.
Pagan took batting practice and fly-ball practice prior to the team's game Monday night; manager Bruce Bochy had no update on Pagan's status after the game.
After the game, Pagan said the tightness prevented him from swinging "100 percent" in batting practice.
"I have no idea," Pagan said when asked how far away his return is. "I'm just going out there, being positive and hopefully soon I'll be ready.
"I'm all right. I wouldn't say great, but I'm OK."
Pagan has the highest batting average among Giant regulars at .307, to go along with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.
"They're the guys who make you go," Bochy said of the top of the order, "and he [Pagan] is our catalyst. He's the guy that really keeps us on track offensively."
The Giants are 2-5 in the games Pagan has missed.
The Giants have been reluctant to place Pagan on the 15-day disabled list. If they do, and he doesn't enter another game in the meantime, they could still backdate him on the list a week with a possible return as early as July 1.
Belt likely to start rehab stint this week
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said Monday that his Minor League injury rehabilitation schedule ideally will lead to his activation from the disabled list on a day that's fit for a celebration: July 4 at San Diego.
Belt, whose recovery from a fractured left thumb has proceeded smoothly, hopes to return to action later this week as a designated hitter for Class A Advanced San Jose. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Belt could begin performing that duty as early as Wednesday, though that stint might not start until the weekend. More will be known after Tuesday, when Belt is expected to take swings off a pitching machine that will test his ability to handle high-velocity deliveries.
Once Belt demonstrates that he can swing capably, he'll join Triple-A Fresno to work his way toward playing full games.
"After sitting here for six-plus weeks," Belt said in the Giants clubhouse, "it's nice to see that the end is near -- in a good way."
Belt said he has felt "pretty normal," having maintained a diligent conditioning program to preserve his strength and stamina. Throwing, he added, is one of his few remaining challenges.
"I just have to get my shoulder back into shape," he said.
Belt said he doubts he'll wear any protective gear on his thumb when the time comes to face competitive pitching.
"I think those guards are more of a hindrance than a help," said Belt, who was injured May 9 when he was struck by a pitch from Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm.
Hamstring injury puts Adrianza on disabled list
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants placed infielder Ehire Adrianza on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring Monday evening. The move was retroactive to Sunday.
With Adrianza sidelined, the Giants recalled outfielder Juan Perez from Triple-A Fresno. Perez was sent to Fresno on Saturday to make room for infielder Joe Panik.
Perez is hitting .158 with one homer and two RBIs in 38 at-bats this season.
Adrianza is hitting .213 with four RBIs in 75 at-bats this season, but the 24-year-old had made improvements lately; he currently has a five-game hit streak and has hit .333 (6-for-18) in that span.
Another roster move could be looming, as Angel Pagan's status with lower back stiffness remains on a daily basis of re-evaluation.
Scutaro slated for first rehab game Tuesday
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants announced Monday that second baseman Marco Scutaro, who has remained sidelined by back problems all season, will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with their Arizona League affiliate.
Scutaro, 38, is expected to play three innings. That would match the game activity he has accumulated all year. Scutaro's lone appearance in a Giants uniform was a three-inning stint in a Cactus League game on March 17.
The Giants had hoped that Scutaro, who played through a painful finger injury last year, would return healthy this year to anchor second base. Instead, San Francisco has used four different starters at that position.
Scutaro, the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 National League Championship Series, hit .319 for the Giants in 2012-13. That contrasts sharply with the production San Francisco has received this year from its second basemen, who entered Monday with a combined .177 batting average, next-to-last in the NL, and a .576 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), good for 12th in the league.
Giants pay tribute to Padres legend Gwynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Krukow distinctly recalled his first encounter with Tony Gwynn. It happened to be Gwynn's Major League debut.
Gwynn began his Hall of Fame career on July 19, 1982, with a first-inning sacrifice fly off Krukow, who had heard glowing reports about this hotshot rookie.
"After his first at-bat I came in and said, 'This guy's for real,'" said Krukow, who then pitched for Philadelphia.
Krukow spoke Monday, shortly before the Giants held a pregame ceremony to honor Gwynn, the Hall of Fame right fielder who died last Monday. Opening a three-game series against Gwynn's former team, the San Diego Padres, the Giants emblazoned his jersey No. 19 on one of the cushioned barriers between a pair of right-field archways. It will remain there throughout the series.
During the ceremony, Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who managed and played with Gwynn in San Diego, presented a base that was used in Gwynn's final game at AT&T Park on Sept. 30, 2001, to Padres manager Bud Black.
"Tony, I want to thank you for the memories. We're going to miss you," Bochy said during a brief address.
The Giants and Padres lined up on the third- and first-base lines, respectively, as a moment of silence was observed. A video montage featuring highlights of Gwynn's career and tributes to him played on the scoreboard screen.
Krukow and Gwynn became fast friends, but they weren't always that close. Krukow, who said that he didn't socialize much with opposing ballplayers, grudgingly introduced himself to Gwynn when they were teammates on the 1986 National League All-Star squad. As Krukow remembered it, Gwynn responded with a limp handshake.
Krukow forgot about the incident until about 20 years later, when they were both broadcasters. Gwynn, who provided commentary on Padres telecasts, approached Krukow and apologized. As Krukow related, Gwynn said, "I didn't want to get close to my opponents. That was hard for me. I hope you understand."
That broke the ice.
"He was a rare, rare guy," Krukow said, "and a very, very humble man who had deep passion for the game."
Krukow admired Gwynn for becoming San Diego State University's head baseball coach.
"In the end, it wasn't so much that he was a hitter or player or athlete. He was a teacher," Krukow said. "That's why I think he coached, which is a difficult, time-consuming job. But he loved it, because he liked teaching. And he had the patience of a teacher. In the end, I really feel fortunate that I had a relationshp with him that wasn't all a competitive-type relationship. It was beyond that. What I found out about the guy was that he was a good man."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.