MIN@SF: Hicks lifts a solo homer to left in the 4th

SAN FRANCISCO -- One month to the date of his last hit, infielder Brandon Hicks was designated for assignment Thursday by the Giants, who needed to make room on the roster for Marco Scutaro, who was activated after batting practice.

Hicks was hitless in his last 25 at-bats and had just one hit in his last 34 (.029). Fifteen of Hicks' 33 hits this season were extra-base hits, which is why manager Bruce Bochy stuck with him in the lineup for so long -- the hits weren't all that common, but at least they were impactful.

With the hits nonexistent, Scutaro healthy enough to return and rookie Joe Panik making strides as he becomes more seasoned, Hicks became the odd man out at second base. He hit .162 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

Giants hoping for spark as Scutaro comes off DL

COL@SF: Scutaro's single ties the game in the eighth

SAN FRANCISCO -- After weeks of anticipation, The Return occurred at AT&T Park on Thursday afternoon.

OK, so Marco Scutaro returning to the Giants isn't quite as monumental as LeBron James' decision to return to Cleveland, but the veteran is a very welcome addition to the struggling club.

With an afternoon game Saturday, Scutaro was held out of the starting lineup Friday night, but manager Bruce Bochy said Scutaro would make his first start of the season Saturday. How often Scutaro plays will depend on how his back holds up, but the Giants' hope is that his presence alone can provide a boost for the team.

"His experience and that veteran leadership he provides, that's invaluable," Bochy said of Scutaro, whom he referred to as a "core player." "It's good to have him back. He's very popular in that clubhouse, so hopefully he's going to be a shot in the arm for us."

That is, if his back holds up.

"My back is better, but it's not the way it used to be," Scutaro said. "The pain is still there. Sometimes I have a good day, sometimes I have a bad day. I'm just going to try and go day by day."

Scutaro said rotation from swinging the bat causes aggravation in his back with each swing, making the back tougher to cope with in the batter's box than in the field. Though the problem is an issue he has to contend with all the time, on or off the field.

"You're sitting, it hurts. Standing up, it hurts. Laying down, it hurts. It's not just your stroke, but your whole life," Scutaro said. "Tie your shoe, it hurts. Every step you make, it hurts. It just [stinks], pretty much."

Bochy said the 38-year-old won't play both games when an afternoon game follows a night game, but aside from that, how the platoon at second base with Joe Panik and Scutaro will play out remains to be decided.