SF@ATL: Pagan opens scoring with a leadoff home run

SAN DIEGO -- Giants center fielder Angel Pagan probably won't return from his strained lower back until shortly after the All-Star break at the earliest, manager Bruce Bochy confirmed Friday.

Bochy echoed remarks made originally by general manager Brian Sabean, who mentioned Pagan's potential timetable during an interview Thursday on KNBR 680 AM, the Giants' flagship radio station.

Bochy pointed out that Pagan, 33, will need at least a week to work himself into sufficient playing condition during a Minor League injury rehabilitation stint. But before Pagan can even contemplate appearing in games, he must rest this weekend after receiving Thursday's epidural injection. Early next week, the Giants will evaluate whether he's fit to participate in fielding and batting practice.

"We then may have a better idea when we think he could be ready," Bochy said.

Cain reaches milestone with 1,500th strikeout

SF@SD: Cain fans Medica for his 1,500th strikeout

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Cain joined a select group of Giants by recording his 1,500th career strikeout during Friday's 2-0 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Cain, who entered the game four strikeouts short of the 1,500 level, reached the milestone by slipping a called third strike past Tommy Medica to end the fourth inning. Earlier, Cain retired Yasmani Grandal and Cameron Maybin on strikes in the second inning before fanning opposing pitcher Eric Stults in the third. Cain finished with six strikeouts, increasing his total to 1,502.

Only three other Giants pitchers have reached the 1,500-strikeout mark since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958: Juan Marichal (2,281), Gaylord Perry (1,606) and Tim Lincecum (1,599). Cain's among eight Giants in this category on the club's all-time list, including Christy Mathewson (2,499), Amos Rusie (1,835), Carl Hubbell (1,677) and "Smiling" Mickey Welch (1,570).

After his record fell to 1-7, Cain acknowledged that he couldn't fully appreciate his latest achievement.

"It is something hard to take in because we're struggling," said Cain, a three-time National League All-Star. "Maybe I don't realize it because I never thought about striking a whole lot of guys out."

Cain, who reached the Majors in August 2005, accomplished this feat in his 280th career appearance, all but one a starting assignment.

"It's hard to think he's been pitching this long," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain, 29.