OAKLAND -- Marco Scutaro is taking the most significant step yet in his bid to return to the field.

The Fresno Grizzlies announced that Scutaro would be in their lineup Monday night, putting the second baseman just a few rehab games from a return to the big leagues. Scutaro has missed the entire season because of a lower back strain.

The Giants say Scutaro's back condition hasn't noticeably improved, but he is determined to push past the pain and soreness to return to the team, even if it is in a limited role.

"If it's not where he can go out there every day, and it's just 2-3 times a week, I think that works," manager Bruce Bochy said last week. "I think he would improve our bench. He has a short swing, a swing that'll work as a pinch-hitter. He has experience, which will help the other guys, too. He's a popular guy in the clubhouse, too. I think the guys would like have him around here."

Scutaro visited with the team when the Giants played the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix last month and then started a rehab assignment with the organization's rookie league team. He was 2 for 12 in six appearances before moving on to the Triple-A Grizzlies on Sunday.

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