PHOENIX – Pablo Sandoval is back in the Giants lineup Tuesday, and after a vigorous round of batting practice, it appears the nerve issue in his right elbow was a momentary twinge.
“I kind of compare it to a funny bone,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It went away (Monday) night. He said before he left that he would play today.”
Sandoval was taken out in the sixth inning Monday after feeling the elbow twinge during a swing. As you’ll recall, he nearly began the season on the DL because of right elbow neuritis.
Sandoval came in early to get treatment. He passed all the stress tests and was cleared to play. Still, his elbow will bear monitoring all season because he’s got a bone spur back there. Any swing or throw could jar it loose into a spot where it aggravates the nerve.
“It’s something he’ll have to have taken care of,” said Bochy, perhaps referring to an offseason surgery.
They scroll through the league leaders on the scoreboard during batting practice here, and I was reminded that Sandoval leads the NL with 33 hits. If that keeps up, even Mets GM Sandy Alderson might be tempted to check Sandoval's name on the All-Star ballot. (The game's at Citi Field, remember.)
In other pregame news, Marco Scutaro is in the lineup but will get a day off Wednesday so he can freshen up his body heading into this weekend’s series against the Dodgers at AT&T Park. Nick Noonan will start at second base on Wednesday against Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy.
As for Brandon Belt, he is batting in the No.8 spot for the second consecutive day.
“You know what? There seem to be some hits there,” Bochy said.
Indeed. Mostly fueled by Brandon Crawford, the Giants’ No.8 hitters have a .304 average and .368 on-base percentage. They’ve scored 16 runs, too. No other NL team has more than 11 runs scored from their No.8 hitters.
Bochy wasn’t willing to say how long he planned to keep Belt in that spot. It was supposed to be a one-day thing Monday against Ian Kennedy, whom Belt had struggled against. But when a move like that works out, Bochy has been known to keep blowing on the dice. So we’ll see.
Bochy on the A’s game Monday night, which lasted more than six hours and ended in the 19th inning:
“I was following it,” he said. “I fell asleep about the 15th or so.”
Bochy couldn’t recall playing or managing in a game that lasted longer than 16 innings. Hunter Pence remembered a 17-inning game with the Astros, and yes, he felt for Josh Hamilton taking an 0-for-8.
Ryan Vogelsong had a significant but not so memorable role in a 16-inning game in 2001. He came up from the minors and made his season debut May 29, throwing three relief innings. In his third inning, Erubiel Durazo hit an RBI double and the Diamondbacks beat the Giants 1-0 at AT&T Park.
The Giants expressed some pity for the A’s for having to play so deep into the night. But there’s nothing worse than expending all that time and effort only to come out on the losing end.