The Giants got one step closer to reuniting their opening day lineup, then took two steps back.
Marco Scutaro (back tightness) returned to his familiar No. 2 spot in a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, but Brandon Belt was a late scratch with neck pain and Pablo Sandoval spent more time with a doctor than on a field.
Sandoval, who has ulnar neuritis in his right elbow, had an X-ray and a CT scan Sunday, signaling that the Giants feel the injury is more serious than originally thought.
Results of the tests were not immediately available, but with eight days remaining until the season opener, Sandoval still has not been cleared to return to normal baseball activities.
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Sandoval was limited to light conditioning a day after manager Bruce Bochy said the third baseman’s status for opening day would be in doubt if he didn’t show improvement Sunday.
Sandoval wasn’t the only regular held out of Sunday’s lineup. Belt became the latest to succumb to a minor injury after he woke up in the middle of the night with a feeling in his neck that “didn’t really feel like your normal crick.”
Belt tried to play catch in the morning but left the field a few minutes into the team workout and headed for the trainer’s room. He said he feels a pull in a muscle on the lower left side of his neck when he turns his head but doesn’t anticipate it becoming a lingering problem.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to play tomorrow,” Belt said.
In addition to Scutaro, who was hitless in three at-bats but said he felt no back pain, the Giants got good news from their backup catcher. Hector Sanchez’s shoulder is pain-free when he throws and hits from both sides, and Sanchez said he is only a day or two away from making his first start since March 12.
The Giants brought back their entire starting lineup from the 2012 championship squad, but through 29 Cactus League games, Bochy has penciled in his projected opening day lineup just once. The good news is that, thus far, the injuries have been relatively minor compared to the hits absorbed by National League West rivals.
The Los Angeles Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez), San Diego Padres (Chase Headley) and Arizona Diamondbacks (Adam Eaton) all have significant pieces starting the season on the disabled list.
The Giants and Sandoval will know soon if they are to join the unfortunate club.
Giants 5, Angels 4
Barry Zito pitched five effective innings and Buster Posey hit a go-ahead single in the ninth to lift the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Zito allowed one run and six hits in his sixth start this spring.
Fellow left-hander Jason Vargas was even better for the Angels in his fifth Cactus League start. Vargas was charged with one run and five hits while striking out five and walking two in six-plus innings.
Athletics 7, Dodgers 4
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin gave up four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings and struck out eight. Jed Lowrie and Derek Norris homered off the Dodgers’ Josh Beckett, who gave up seven runs, six hits and three walks over four innings.