SAN FRANCISCO -- In his pregame meeting with reporters, manager Bruce Bochy preached that without hope, humans would have nothing at all. When it comes to Marco Scutaro, Bochy and the Giants are beginning to have a lot of hope.
Scutaro (lower back strain) played three innings and hit a double in his fifth game in the Arizona League on Wednesday night. He was slated to play five innings on Thursday, marking the first time he'll have played on back-to-back days. If there aren't any drawbacks in the next couple days, Bochy said, Scutaro will be promoted to Triple-A Fresno on Sunday.
"We'll see how he gets through it today; this will be a big test for him," Bochy said. "If all goes well the next couple days, we could see him in Fresno."
The chances he'll return to San Francisco shortly after that appear to be increasing. The Giants hope he'll be able to return to the Majors before the end of his 20-day rehab assignment.
"That'd be awesome news," Bochy said. "If it's not where he can go out there every day, I think two to three times a week works."
Bochy believes the return of Scutaro, who hasn't played in a Major League game this season, would boost the team's bench. The manager said Scutaro's short swing would be effective in a pinch-hitting role and morale, since he's well-liked and has a wealth of experience to help the younger players.
"He's a popular guy in this clubhouse, so I think the guys would like to have him around, too," Bochy said.
In other injury news, Bochy said first baseman Brandon Belt will be activated on Friday. He broke his left thumb May 9 and has been out since. Ehire Adrianza's rehab from a hamstring injury is also progressing, Bochy said.
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.