Bochy questions Sandoval's conditioning, ability to play 3B


Bochy questions Sandoval's conditioning, ability to play 3B

SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval will continue his rehab assignmentas the starting third baseman for Single-A San Jose at Stockton on Monday night.

He has much more to prove than the health of his surgicallyrepaired left hand. Much, much more.

Giants management was becoming increasingly dissatisfied withSandovals condition and dedication, even before the All-Star third baseman wasquestioned by police in relation to a possible sexual assault that allegedlytook place Friday morning in Santa Cruz.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy met briefly with Sandoval onSaturday, and while he didnt mention specifics of the conversation, clearly itwas not a pleasant exchange.

Bochy acknowledged that he isnt sure that Sandoval is incondition to return to third base, where Joaquin Arias has set a defensivestandard that will be difficult to match.

Hes been told we have enough first basemen, said Bochy,asked about whether a position change might be in the works for the rotundPanda. That said, hopefully were not forced to make a change. Thats in Pabloshands.

Being able to make the plays Joaquin has been making, thatsso vital. You look at how important the plays were in (Sundays) ballgame. Thatspart of when (Sandoval) comes back up here. Its not just the hitting. Its howhes playing third base, which is what hes doing today.

Bochy acknowledged the Giants are likely to wait until June12 to activate Sandoval. Thats because his swing remains limited from theright side and the Texas Rangers are scheduled to throw two left-handers in thisweekends series at AT&T Park.

We could wait until (next) Tuesday, Bochy said. Thatmight make more sense.

Sandoval is expected to report to Triple-A Fresno after Monday night's game to continue his rehab assignment.

Sandoval, who had a broken hamate bone removed from his lefthand May 4, took 15 swings from the right side in batting practice Sunday andwill take 15 more on Monday.

He came out of that well, Bochy said.

Sandoval signed a three-year, 17.15 million contract in January. He was leading the Giants in home runs and RBIs when he got hurt.

Bochy acknowledged he still envisions Sandoval as an everyday player upon his return.
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In other pregame news, Santiago Casilla tested his bruisedknee by throwing on flat ground and he might be available to pitch Monday,Bochy said.

Hector Sanchez has two wraps on his left leg after foulingtwo pitches off it a day earlier. But he said hell be available off the bench.

Back in Arizona, left-hander Dan Runzler is throwing simulatedinnings and Freddy Sanchezs back has progressed to the point where he willbegin taking light swings. His shoulder remains the major issue, though.

As for the lineup, Bochy is giving Nate Schierholtz thefirst start of his career in the leadoff spot. He said Gregor Blanco needs aday off, and he wants to keep some lineup continuity with Angel Pagan, who hasbeen a good fit as the No.5 hitter.

Bochy said he might leave Pagan down in the lineup whenSandoval returns because Ryan Theriot has done such a good job as the No.2hitter, where he is accustomed to being.

But Bochy said he didnt want to make any pronouncements onwhat the lineup will look like upon Sandovals return.

I dont want these guys thinking about that, the manager said.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras


SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.