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Giants’ second-base spot is beginning to clear up



Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The deepest and perhaps best position for the Giants has not played like it, but they are moving toward better health, if not full health.

It’s possible Wilmer Flores returns Saturday, the first day he is eligible to be activated, Gabe Kapler said Wednesday of his infielder who has been out with a right hamstring strain.

Flores ran on the field and took batting practice Tuesday and is “really progressing nicely,” Kapler said.

The veteran Flores, who hit so well in his first season with the Giants, had yet to get going in posting a .651 OPS through 120 plate appearances before he went down. His injury exacerbated the club’s second-base problem because Tommy La Stella and Donovan Solano already were out. Solano has returned but his bat has not just yet.

The Silver Slugger winner, who had a shortened rehab assignment because of Flores’ injury, is 2-for-15 since returning and has been playing every other day. He is out of the lineup in favor of Mauricio Dubon for Wednesday’s game in Arizona. The Giants are slowly building up Solano and have liked the clearly above-average defense Dubon has shown at the spot.

“Sometimes we try to kill two birds with one stone,” Kapler said. “In this particular case, it’s continuing to get Solano the rest that he needs and continuing to get Dubon the reps that he needs.”

La Stella, meanwhile, is not eligible to be activated from a left hamstring strain until July 2. The Giants said the valuable lefty hitter played catch and hit off a tee Tuesday.

The Giants did not announce a rotation for the four-game set at Dodger Stadium because it will hinge upon Logan Webb, who was in the midst of a bullpen session that would determine whether he is removed from the IL for a start. If he cannot go, Scott Kazmir likely would be the pick. They are lined up to throw Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani and Kevin Gausman in the other games.

The Dodgers will open with a bullpen game before turning to Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw.

The Giants’ lineup against righty Merrill Kelly:

1. Mike Yastrzemski, RF
2. Buster Posey, C
3. Alex Dickerson, LF
4. Darin Ruf, 1B
5. Brandon Crawford, SS
6. Evan Longoria, 3B
7. Mike Tauchman, CF
8. Mauricio Dubon, 2B
9. Johnny Cueto, P

Why Mike Tauchman, who works pitchers so well but has not hit great, over Steven Duggar after Duggar’s 2-for-4 day?

“I didn’t really want to give Tauchman three days down in a row, and he’s worked really high-quality of at-bats for us as well,” Kapler said. “I think he stretches out our lineup nicely. Certainly would be nice if we had room for both of them in the lineup today.”

John Brebbia is expected to pitch an inning Thursday with Triple-A Sacramento. It would be his first since June 2020 Tommy John surgery.

The righty was signed this offseason as a rehab project and was consistently solid for St. Louis, pitching to a 3.14 ERA in 175 innings from 2017-19.