SF@PIT: Scutaro hit by pitch and forced to leave game

ATLANTA -- The Giants likely will decide by the middle of next week whether to place second baseman Marco Scutaro on the 15-day disabled list.

Scutaro, who was diagnosed with a mallet finger on his left pinkie after he was hit by a pitch last Tuesday at Pittsburgh, showed signs of improvement Friday. A Bay Area News Group reporter spied him taking practice swings in an indoor batting cage.

Scutaro, who ranks fourth in the National League with a .332 batting average, still missed his third game in a row. Manager Bruce Bochy cited the seven- to eight-day mark as the juncture when the Giants will determine whether to let Scutaro continue to heal while on the active roster.

"A lot depends on how we're holding up, if we get short on infielders," Bochy said. "Then we might have to make a move."

Bochy acknowledged that Scutaro's finger is "calming down." Scutaro will be fitted for a custom orthotic for his finger next week. The apparatus will be required to help Scutaro straighten his finger, which will be necessary for his healing.

Worth noting

• The Giants have been encouraged by the progress of reliever Santiago Casilla, who has begun throwing on flat ground. San Francisco's top right-handed setup man, who's recovering from a right knee injury, conceivably could resume pitching in two to three weeks, instead of after the All-Star break as initially estimated.

• Bochy explained that he wants to be careful with Tony Abreu's healed left knee, which is why the utility man will continue to share time with Nick Noonan at second base while Scutaro is sidelined. Bochy said that Abreu probably will start his second straight game Saturday, followed by Noonan on Sunday.

• Bochy said Angel Pagan's strained left hamstring is continuing to improve, though the center fielder and leadoff hitter remains unlikely to play during this weekend's series here.

• The Giants already have scored 10 runs six times this season. They reached double-digit run totals six times all last year and five times in 2011.