PHOENIX – The Giants don’t have Pablo Sandoval in the lineup as they try for a series victory against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Sandoval went for an MRI exam after aggravating his strained left foot and leaving in the third inning Saturday night. The club won’t have results until after the game, and even then, I’d guess that they won’t know until Tuesday whether Sandoval can play the opener of a three-game series at Pittsburgh.
It isn’t ideal, but manager Bruce Bochy is going with Joaquin Arias in the No.5 spot against left-hander Tyler Skaggs. The manager wanted to keep Brandon Belt in the sixth spot and he didn’t want to put too much pressure on Juan Perez, who will make his major league debut as the starting center fielder.
Bochy talked to Fresno manager Bob Mariano again Sunday morning to get a gauge on Perez’s defensive proficiency. He’s a plus outfielder at all three spots and he’s most comfortable in center, so that’s where he’ll play.
Bochy said left field can be the toughest spot for an outfielder who hasn’t played there, because of the angles involved and the way line drives can cut and tail.
Andres Torres, who has struggled at times in left field, is back out there and Gregor Blanco gets a day off vs. the lefty pitcher.
I asked Bochy if he’d consider moving Angel Pagan from center field to left when he comes off the disabled list. He said no, and not because Pagan just signed a four-year contract.
"He was our center fielder last year and we did well with him in center," Bochy said. "If we think we need to make a change, at any position, we're going to do it. If it feels like he's not quite 100 percent, or this (hamstring injury) is with him for awhile, it's something we could talk about. But he hasn't played much left field. He's played more in right."
Actually, Pagan hasn't played much in either corner. He hasn't gotten an inning in left or right field since 2010 with the Mets.
I also asked if Bochy was going start-to-start with Chad Gaudin, who gets the ball for his second turn on Sunday, or if the right-hander was pretty much part of the rotation going forward.
The manager prefers the latter.
“If we have to make an adjustment, we will,” Bochy said. “Right now, he’s in the rotation. That’s the best way I can put it.”
The Giants have won eight of their last 10 at Chase Field. If they can finish on the right side Sunday, this would be their first road series win since April 29-May 1.
Here are probables for the Pirates series:
Tuesday: Tim Lincecum (4-5, 4.75 ERA) vs. right-hander Gerrit Cole, who will make his major league debut.
Wednesday: Barry Zito (4-4, 4.06) vs. left-hander Francisco Liriano (4-2, 1.75).
Thursday: Matt Cain (4-3, 5.09) vs. TBA.
This will be the first time Liriano will face the Giants in his career. As you might remember, he was a former top prospect who got a big bonus but had trouble staying healthy and was part of the infamous deal (along with Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser) that netted A.J. Pierzynski from the Twins.
Bonser is at Triple-A Fresno, by the way, and not pitching very well. So don’t ponder a call-up in time for a reunion.
Santiago Casilla, who is recovering from surgery to remove a bone cyst from below his knee, is down from two crutches to one. That's progress -- even if he appeared to be using it on the wrong side.