SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval will continue his rehab assignmentas the starting third baseman for Single-A San Jose at Stockton on Monday night.
He has much more to prove than the health of his surgicallyrepaired left hand. Much, much more.
Giants management was becoming increasingly dissatisfied withSandovals condition and dedication, even before the All-Star third baseman wasquestioned by police in relation to a possible sexual assault that allegedlytook place Friday morning in Santa Cruz.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy met briefly with Sandoval onSaturday, and while he didnt mention specifics of the conversation, clearly itwas not a pleasant exchange.
Bochy acknowledged that he isnt sure that Sandoval is incondition to return to third base, where Joaquin Arias has set a defensivestandard that will be difficult to match.
Hes been told we have enough first basemen, said Bochy,asked about whether a position change might be in the works for the rotundPanda. That said, hopefully were not forced to make a change. Thats in Pabloshands.
Being able to make the plays Joaquin has been making, thatsso vital. You look at how important the plays were in (Sundays) ballgame. Thatspart of when (Sandoval) comes back up here. Its not just the hitting. Its howhes playing third base, which is what hes doing today.
Bochy acknowledged the Giants are likely to wait until June12 to activate Sandoval. Thats because his swing remains limited from theright side and the Texas Rangers are scheduled to throw two left-handers in thisweekends series at AT&T Park.
We could wait until (next) Tuesday, Bochy said. Thatmight make more sense.
Sandoval is expected to report to Triple-A Fresno after Monday night's game to continue his rehab assignment.
Sandoval, who had a broken hamate bone removed from his lefthand May 4, took 15 swings from the right side in batting practice Sunday andwill take 15 more on Monday.
He came out of that well, Bochy said.
Sandoval signed a three-year, 17.15 million contract in January. He was leading the Giants in home runs and RBIs when he got hurt.
Bochy acknowledged he still envisions Sandoval as an everyday player upon his return.
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KFP48Thank you all for your kind words, working hard and can't wait to get back on the field to help my SF Giants.
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In other pregame news, Santiago Casilla tested his bruisedknee by throwing on flat ground and he might be available to pitch Monday,Bochy said.
Hector Sanchez has two wraps on his left leg after foulingtwo pitches off it a day earlier. But he said hell be available off the bench.
Back in Arizona, left-hander Dan Runzler is throwing simulatedinnings and Freddy Sanchezs back has progressed to the point where he willbegin taking light swings. His shoulder remains the major issue, though.
As for the lineup, Bochy is giving Nate Schierholtz thefirst start of his career in the leadoff spot. He said Gregor Blanco needs aday off, and he wants to keep some lineup continuity with Angel Pagan, who hasbeen a good fit as the No.5 hitter.
Bochy said he might leave Pagan down in the lineup whenSandoval returns because Ryan Theriot has done such a good job as the No.2hitter, where he is accustomed to being.
But Bochy said he didnt want to make any pronouncements onwhat the lineup will look like upon Sandovals return.
I dont want these guys thinking about that, the manager said.