SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval is eligible to return fromthe disabled list on August 9. But as the Dodgers Matt Kemp can confirm,hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger. Bruce Bochy said before Thursdays game, however, that he is hopeful Sandovalwill be ready as soon as hes eligible for activation.Hes come around, Bochy said. Im more and moreencouraged with Pablo and optimistic that he can possibly be ready when histime is up.Bochy said that Sandoval is already swinging the bat, though he can feel itjust a little bit when he swings from the right side. Hes also on the vergeof running for the first time since he sustained the injury on July 24.Hes real close, Bochy said about Sandovals runningregimen. Ill get with head trainer Dave Groeschner about that. To behonest, I dont know what day hes going to start running, but thats reallywhen you have a good idea of where hes at.Sandoval sustained the injury in his first action at first base this season.Bochy said he wasnt sure whether Sandoval would see more time at first when hehas a healthy hamstring again.Well see how things are going and where were at with thisoffense, Bochy said. Ideally, youd like to keep him at third and not have thatrisk again, especially after hurting it once. But if were forced to, thenthats a possibility.Bochy said he didnt expect Sandoval to be any more susceptible to injury,though he used some interesting words to get his point across.Really I didnt, Bochy said. I was asked that when I put Pablo at first.Thats usually where going back to Little League you put the fat guy. Youdidnt worry about injuries. But he did a pretty good split there. I guess anytime you make any kind of change with a player, theres a slight risk there.But its not something I thought about it. You notice I said put the fat guy atfirst, not behind the plate?Bochy said he went through a similar situation with a former player and currentHall of Famer, Tony Gwynn, in San Diego.I put him at first base when his knee was bad, Bochy said. But theres somuch action at first base -- bunt plays, breaking to your left, right,stretching, around the bag. Its a much more demanding position than people think.Hes not just sitting there taking throws from the infielders. Youre gettingin that starting position every pitch. Its probably one of the more physicallydemanding positions on the field.With Sandoval out and Buster Posey getting a full off day instead of asemi-break with a start at first base, Brandon Belt is in the starting lineupagainst right-hander Chris Young. In Wednesdays loss, Brett Pill got the nodagainst left-hander Jonathon Niese. But Bochy wouldnt commit to a strictplatoon moving forward.Not necessarily. Really how theyre swinging, playing thenumbers, Bochy said. How a lefty does against lefties, righties. Ill look atthe splits and make that determination.Bochy said he didnt consider putting Posey at first Thursdaybecause he was in need of a full days rest.We have a lot of baseball left, Bochy said. You wear aguy down to a point where sometimes it takes him a week to recover. We cantafford to do that. Hes been catching a lot, playing a lot. Ill have himavailable to come off the bench. Especially when you get in late July, August,youve got to keep an eye on these guys and keep them fresh for the stretchrun.Angel Pagan is fresh and back in the starting lineup after forcing himself tothe bench with a self-sustained hand injury. He left Mondays game afterbruising his hand swinging a bat into an object other than a baseball andappeared as a pinch hitter in Wednesdays loss.When asked how he can try and prevent incidents like this from happening again,especially in the wake of Bostons Ryan Sweeney recent self-inflicted injurythat will force him to miss the rest of the 2012 season.Youre going to get frustrated, but weve got to be smartabout this, Bochy said. Sometimes you cant control that emotion right awayand you need to step back, but things like this can hurt a club. Hopefully helearned from this. Hes gone through a tough streak and he wants to do all hecan to help us win ballgames. It just hasnt been happening for him. He playswith a lot of emotion. Hes been very hard on himself, but at the same time wecant afford to lose our guys.The Giants were at risk of losing one of their guys inEmmanuel Burriss when they designated him for assignment last week, but hecleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Fresno, the team announcedbefore the game. Good news for us, Bochy said. We get to keep him. Givesus a player down there that we know has spent time up here and can help us ifnecessary.With a flurry of recent transactions following the acquisition of Hunter Pence,the Giants now have a short bench and a 13-man pitching staff, with Shane Louxslate-night call-up Wednesday. Sure it leaves us a position player short from how we normally play, Bochysaid. But right now its more important to add an arm so we dont overtax thisbullpen. Theyve been used a lot and Loux is fresh and ready to go. It gives ussome coverage today and from here, we go to Colorado, which can be taxing on apitching staff, particularly a bullpen.Bochy stressed the importance of picking up a win in the series finale againstthe Mets to salvage a 4-6 homestand before a long road trip.It would be great for the psyche of the club, Bochy said. Its been a toughhomestand. Obviously, youd like to win today to head on the road and hopefullybuild some momentum and get it going again. But we need to get these bats goingto get some consistency throughout the lineup.Pence will get a second chance to get his bat going in a Giants uniform asBochys cleanup hitter with Posey out. It hasnt taken long for the newestGiant to impress his new skipper.Hes here early and hes always ready to go, Bochy said. Hes excited to behere. Hes going to play hard and hell get settled in.