SAN FRANCISCO -- With online-only voting for the 2014 All-Star Game commencing on Thursday, the balloting is coming down to the wire. The Giants have the National League's second-best record but no players atop their respective positions in the voting.
Catcher Buster Posey is one of three players -- Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval are the others -- in third at his respective position. Posey trails the Cardinals' Yadier Molina by roughly 900,000 votes and the Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy by more than 200,000 votes.
While the Giants have maintained throughout the season that they don't care about All-Star appearances, Posey's recent play has increased his worthiness to be the NL's starter behind the plate. He has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games; he's hit .338 (25-for-74) in that span. Entering Tuesday night's game, Posey is third among NL catchers with a .280 average, fourth with nine home runs and fifth with 36 RBIs on the season.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.
Pagan's return unclear; Belt set for rehab games
SAN FRANCISCO -- After Monday night's game, Angel Pagan had little update on the lower back tightness that caused him to miss an eighth consecutive game on Tuesday.
"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."
Prior to Tuesday's game, manager Bruce Bochy had nothing new to report regarding his leadoff hitter. He expects that to change "in the next day or so."
Pagan has taken batting practice the past two days but said Monday night that he wasn't able to "swing 100 percent" because of the back problems.
"I'm all right," Pagan said after the game. "I wouldn't say great, but I'm OK."
Added Bochy on Tuesday: "There's a fine line between batting practice and playing in the game."
One injured Giant scheduled to soon be playing in games is first baseman Brandon Belt, who Bochy said would likely start a rehab assignment at Class A Advanced San Jose on Thursday.
"He feels good and he's ready to go," Bochy said of Belt, who has been fielding, running and has progressed from hitting off a tee to hitting off a pitching machine.
Belt broke his left thumb May 9. He's hitting .264 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs in 35 games this season.
In other injury-related news, Bochy said Ehire Adrianza's right hamstring strain is similar to the injury Matt Cain had earlier this season and Marco Scutaro, who has remained sidelined by back problems all season, will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with the 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.
Lefty prospect Escobar named to Futures Game
SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Edwin Escobar will be the Giants' representative in the 2014 Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 13, at Target Field. Escobar will be pitching for the World team.
MLB.com rates the 22-year-old as the Giants' second-best prospect, but he has struggled this season -- he's 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 81 1/3 innings during 15 starts at Triple-A Fresno.
This is his first season in the Pacific Coast League and its hitter-friendly parks. He was 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 10 starts last season at Double-A Richmond in the more pitcher-friendly Eastern League. In 16 appearances (14 starts) last season before being called up to Richmond, Escobar had a 2.89 ERA in 74 2/3 innings at Class A Advanced San Jose.
"It's obvious that he has the stuff," Fresno manager Bob Mariano recently told MLB.com. "You see flashes of it, and then at times you'll see where he gets deep in counts and makes mistakes."
This is the fourth consecutive year the Giants have had one representative in the Futures Game. Recent invitees as members of the Giants organization are Kyle Crick (2013), Tommy Joseph (2012), Gary Brown (2011), and Francisco Peguero and Zack Wheeler (2010). Matt Cain (2004) and Madison Bumgarner (2009) also played in the game as Giants representatives.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.