Sandoval dealing with neuritis, bone spur in elbow

Sandoval dealing with neuritis, bone spur in elbow
March 19, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Pablo Sandoval has dealt with bone spurs as far back as 2009 and is still expected to be ready for opening day. (AP)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Third baseman Pablo Sandoval had an MRI exam that ruled out major structural damage in his sore right elbow, and the Giants remain optimistic that their World Series MVP will start on opening day.

But Sandoval’s arm will bear watching all season, head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said. In addition to ulnar neuritis, Sandoval has a bone spur in his elbow that appears similar to the spur that had shown up on tests since 2009.

“Most of these guys have spurs, and he has a chronic one,” said Groeschner, adding that surgery didn’t appear to be required to address the problem, either now or after the season. “It isn’t something that just cropped up.”

The goal for trainers is to get Sandoval’s ulnar nerve to calm down. The All-Star and No. 3 hitter said his elbow remained sore but was improved on Tuesday; the numbness in his fingers also had subsided.

Sandoval will be reevaluated this weekend, but there’s no timetable for when he might begin throwing. Both Sandoval and Groeschner agreed that he wouldn’t need many more at-bats to be ready, since he played winter ball and in the World Baseball Classic.

Groeschner said Sandoval had a similar ailment in 2009 and ended up missing four or five days.

Sandoval will not take part in baseball activities for a few days, instead staying in the trainers room to work on conditioning.

“I think I’m going to be ready,” Sandoval said. “I hope.”

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In other injury news, Hector Sanchez remains iffy for opening day as well. The catcher took right-handed swings in the cage Tuesday and will get right-handed at-bats in a minor league game Wednesday.

Sanchez, who has a fatigued shoulder, still feels pain when he swings left-handed so will wait another day or two before he tries again.

There are currently no plans for Sanchez to begin throwing again. He has been dealing with recurring shoulder pain since winter ball in Venezuela.

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Left-hander Jose Mijares (elbow impingement) has been throwing off a mound with no issues and he’s due to face hitters on Wednesday.