Angel Pagan‘s return to the top of the San Francisco Giants lineup will have to wait.
In fact, saying ‘wait’ might have to be an understatement, because it’s more likely that the team will have to do without its starting center fielder for quite some time … maybe even until the stretch run towards the end of the season:
This is the result of a re-aggravation of the left hamstring injury that the 31-year old suffered in his Class-A rehab stint on Thursday, and as an MRI revealed that the was a slight tear, the “options” that Pagan is going to be discussing with the doctors really just mean surgery, which will set him back anywhere from 6-8 weeks.
And because so much of what Pagan brings to the Giants is based on his speed, you can probably guess that it’ll be on the more conservative side of things.
While his 30-steal threat and intangibles in the clubhouse are undoubtedly missed by the team, they could at least say that they’ve more than found an adequate replacement for the veteran both on the field and in the leadoff spot. Left fielder Gregor Blanco has filled in admirably in Pagan’s absence, posting a .322/.372/.437 triple-slash with five stolen bases (seven attempts) from atop the lineup.
Compared that to the .262/.314/.374 and six steals (10 attempts) that Pagan dished out prior to getting hurt, and you can see why the team is having little trouble staying right in the mix in the NL West, currently in second place heading into play on Saturday, just three games back of the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks.
Even Andres Torres, who is day-to-day with knee issue, has been a bit of a revelation, hitting better than he has over the last two seasons with a .270/.315/.393 line over 178 PA.
Which is to say that as much as the team might want to get Pagan back, waiting is a luxury that they can afford at the moment, and it’s unlikely that they’ll face a real outfield crunch unless another significant injury occurs.