SAN FRANCISCO — Rich Aurilia is optimistic the lingering pain in his neck will be alleviated by three injections he received Monday.

Aurilia said Tuesday he took three shots on the left side of his neck, and that he planned to be back on the field for the Giants' series opener in Boston on Friday.

"Hopefully, it puts the fire out, and I'll be fine the rest of the way," said Aurilia, who had a stiff neck Tuesday and missed his second game in a row.

Aurilia received injections last month in the muscles of his neck. He said the latest series of shots were in his facet joints.

Aurilia said the discomfort has affected his performance. He has hit only .192 over his last 35 games.

"I couldn't turn my head over," Aurilia said. "And any time I lifted my arms up to hit, it would pinch even more. Is it the all-and-all reason why I've been struggling? No. But was it a big contributing factor? Yeah, because I couldn't do what I normally do."

Aurilia said he already feels better.

"I haven't had headaches for the last two days, which is the first step," he said. "I had headaches for five weeks. That was probably wearing on me more than anything."

NEW CATCHER: Catcher Guillermo Rodriguez, who spent more than 11 seasons in the minor leagues, is slated to make his major league debut today when the Giants close out their series against the Blue Jays.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Rodriguez would start in place of Bengie Molina, who will get the day off.

"I've waited so long for this," Rodriguez said in Spanish.

Rodriguez, 29, who received his first big league call-up on Saturday to replace an injured Eliezer Alfonzo, said he never gave up on his dreams of reaching the majors.

"I never lost my faith," Rodriguez said. "I played hard in the minor leagues to earn this chance, to have this moment. If something went wrong, I always continued to believe I would be here one day. I never thought that I would never get here. I worked hard every day, no matter where I was."

Nate Schierholtz, who made his first major league start Tuesday, said he was delighted for Rodriguez. Schierholtz and Rodriguez played together at Class A San Jose in 2005 and Triple-A Fresno this season.

"When I started out in San Jose, I was real young, and he was the older veteran who showed us the ropes," Schierholtz said. "To see him get up here and get a chance to place is neat. He deserves it for all the hard work he puts in."