PHOENIX -- The Giants announced Tuesday that Marco Scutaro received a diagnostic nerve block for his ailing back, a procedure that probably will put the second baseman and No. 2 hitter on the disabled list to start the regular season.
Scutaro, 38, appeared in just one exhibition game, a three-inning stint against the Angels on March 17. Though he has performed light baseball-related activities, the combination of Scutaro's lack of preparation, his lingering back problems and the proximity of the regular season likely will force him to be sidelined.
The Giants were expected to share further details about Scutaro's condition Wednesday, though manager Bruce Bochy said surgery had not been discussed.
If the Giants place him on the disabled list, his assignment can be retroactive for 10 days, so he could miss a minimum of five regular-season days -- which would be only four games, since the Giants are idle when the season officially begins Sunday. San Francisco opens its 2014 campaign at Arizona on Monday.
A nerve block is a procedure in which a specific nerve or group of nerves that could be causing pain are numbed.
The Giants had hoped they'd regain a healthy Scutaro who could hit with authority, as he did in 2012. He drove in 44 runs in 61 games and batted .362 after being acquired in a late-July trade from Colorado, then hit .500 in the National League Championship Series against St. Louis to win Most Valuable Player honors.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.