SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval, a late scratch from Tuesday night's lineup with a sore back, is out again today, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said an MRI on Sandoval came out "clean." Bochy said Sandoval is likely available to pinch-hit today and should be back in the lineup tomorrow when the Pittsburgh Pirates come to town.
In other lineup decisions, Roger Kieschnick gets the start over Gregor Blanco and Brett Pill today in left field even against a left-hander in Boston's Felix Doubront. Kieschnick had three hits Tuesday night. Bochy said he wants Pill to get some more work in left before he starts a game there, particularly during the day when the sun can be tough.
Here's the full Giants lineup for today's finale against the Red Sox, with Barry Zito making his return to the rotation:
And the Red Sox lineup against Zito:
* Bochy said Angel Pagan is still on track to join Triple-A Fresno on rehab assignment on Friday. Pagan had a single and a triple Tuesday for the Giants' rookie-league team in Arizona and today felt "just your normal soreness that you'd expect from getting back and playing games."
* Infielder Tony Abreu, who hurt his groin while rehabbing in Fresno from knee bursitis, will run curves Thursday at AT&T Park in front of the Giants' training staff before going back to Fresno to resume his rehab, likely on Saturday.
* Regarding Pill, Bochy said the Giants have had Pill taking ground balls at third base the past couple days as well to give them coverage in the infield. That could also benefit Pill going forward, Bochy said, as being a more versatile defender might give him an edge in a roster battle in future springs over another player who's locked into one position.
Bochy said it's something he likes to do "with players that are more of our role-type players to give us some versatility and give us the ability to maybe carry one less player if we can play different positions instead of being so specialized."
In that vein, Bochy was asked about Brandon Belt, who has 35 outfield starts in his big-league career. Bochy said a potential move to the outfield for Belt is "always an option" down the road, but that there are no plans to make that happen right now.
"Right now he's our first baseman," Bochy said. "But I will say with Brandon Belt that's always an option where we could put him in the outfield. He played it when he was younger, has a good arm, pretty good athlete. I'm not saying we're going to do that. I'm saying that's the versatility that he does have for you."
* Zito will make his first start since July 30 in Philadelphia, the last of a 10-start stretch in which Zito went 0-5 with a 6.66 ERA. He was moved out of the rotation three days later when Ryan Vogelsong came off the DL. Vogelsong's fractured pinkie prompted the move of Chad Gaudin from reliever to starter, and Gaudin's landing on the DL yesterday puts Zito back in a starting role.
-- Matt Kawahara