Programming Alert: Tune in to Giants Pregame Live at noon on CSN Bay Area!
LOS ANGELES – Bruce Bochy said he didn’t see any hesitation from Pablo Sandoval when he made throws or took swings on Sunday. So the Giants’ manager didn’t hesitate to put the World Series MVP in his Opening Day lineup.
Sandoval is starting at third base as the Giants begin their second title defense in three years at Dodger Stadium. He’s batting in his customary No. 3 spot.
But Sandoval will be “a day-to-day type thing” for at least the first week of the season, Bochy said.
“Pablo wants to be out there,” Bochy said. “He has no problem throwing the ball. He let it go (Sunday) in Oakland.”
Sandoval still reported some soreness when swinging left-handed, but the Dodgers start lefties – Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu – in the first two games of the season.
“That makes it a little easier, sure,” Bochy said.
There were no other surprises in the lineup: CF Angel Pagan, 2B Marco Scutaro, 3B Sandoval, C Buster Posey, RF Hunter Pence, 1B Brandon Belt, LF Andres Torres, SS Brandon Crawford and P Matt Cain.
And the Dodgers: LF Carl Crawford, 2B Mark Ellis, CF Matt Kemp, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RF Andre Ethier, 3B Luis Cruz, C A.J. Ellis, SS Justin Sellers, P Clayton Kershaw. (No Uribe, sorry.)
One addendum: Belt was battling some stomach issues Monday morning, but at least for now, he’s still listed as the first baseman.
Bochy reiterated that left field wouldn’t necessarily be a straight platoon between Torres and Gregor Blanco, but it’ll start out that way. Bochy said he liked the plate appearances both players were having toward the end of spring.
Revisiting the last roster decisions, Bochy said the flexibility of carrying a third catcher was important, given Hector Sanchez’s recurring shoulder issues. The club believes Sanchez is good to go, but this problem kept popping up over the past two months. Plus having Quiroz allows the Giants to use Sanchez more freely as a pinch hitter off the bench.
The odd man out was Cole Gillespie, who had to take a bus to Fresno instead of a flight to Los Angeles. Talk about a letdown.
Bochy said Gillespie was a bit blindsided that he lost his spot not to Francisco Peguero, but to a third catcher. Bochy said he’s been there as a player, often having a place on the team determined not by how he played in the spring but whether his club wanted to go with a third catcher or not.
Finally, I mentioned to Bochy that not one of ESPN’s 43 “experts” picked the Giants to win the NL pennant.
“This changes everything,” Bochy joked, adding that he might have to share that fact with the rest of the group.
It should be noted that 23 of ESPN’s folks took the Giants to win the NL West, though. (The Dodgers got 15 votes and the Diamondbacks got five. And five picked the Dodgers to go to the World Series, with one predicting they’ll win it all.)
Minor league journeyman Matt Yourkin finally made it to a major league ballpark on opening day. He’s throwing left-handed batting practice in place of John Yandle, who has been doing the job for 28 years but had rotator cuff surgery in November.