How does that adage go? Come into a game and the ball will find you.

It found Angel Pagan immediately Tuesday when he took the field for the first time in 10 days, in a Triple-A game in Scottsdale. The Cubs’ John Andreoli hit the game’s first pitch to center. Pagan glided a few steps and caught it.

Before his five innings were over, Pagan raced into the gap for a catch, singled and eventually scored on a Jarrett Parker triple after running to third on a John Bowker double, and saw his own blast to the left-center gap die in the glove of a diving Kevin Brown.

General manager Brian Sabean had to be pleased as he watched from behind the backstop. Sabean’s words from earlier in the day, when he disputed the notion that Pagan’s newest back injury was severe, rang true during those five innings at Indian School Park.

“Since he’s been back on the field, we’ve seen him move around freely and easily,” Sabean said. “We expect him to be ready Opening Day.”

Sabean was asked whether Pagan’s lower-back spasms, which required two injections, had persuaded the front office to pursue a trade for an outfielder.

No, Sabean said. The Giants were not maniacally working the phones when Hunter Pence’s arm was broken early in camp and Sabean said Pagan’s injury did not change his thinking, largely because the club did not believe it was as serious as the disk problem that ended Pagan’s 2014 season and resulted in surgery.

“The other thing is, we’re not losing Pence for the year,” Sabean said. “It could be two weeks. It could be a a month. We know we’re losing him for the beginning of the season. It’s not a long-term situation.”
The budget could be an issue, too. The Giants are thought to be at or near their $160 million payroll for 2015, and are not inclined to go higher by taking on an outfield salary that another team wants to dump.