SAN FRANCISCO Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been activated fromthe disabled list, hes batting third in Saturdays lineup and he is saying allthe right things in the face of two controversies.
Sandoval, who is the target of a sexual assaultinvestigation in Santa Cruz, told the Associated Press that he understands theimportance of addressing the issues of his weight and conditioning.
But hell have to prove it, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Well, there comes a time when you dont want to hear it,Bochy said. You need action, and thats whats gotta happen now. Which it has,for the last week. Hes been working hard.
Thats got to be consistent. It cant be for three or fourdays or a week. Its got to be for a season. Thats what we need to see and heknows thats what he needs to do.
Bochy planned to hold an in-depth meeting with Sandoval atsome point this weekend. The rotund Kung Fu Panda hasnt played since May 2after requiring surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, andsources said his weight, already beyond where the club wanted it, has increasedwhile on the DL.
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Hes a vital part of this team, Bochy said. Weve seenit. You know what happened just a couple years ago when hes not in thecondition he needs to be in. He wasnt able to perform to his capabilities.
Perhaps Bochys most interesting comment came when asked whyhe wouldnt consider moving Sandoval to first base, especially in light ofJoaquin Arias strong defensive play at third base.
Oh, we would consider it, Bochy said.
Even if Sandovals career path will take him to first basein the future, its not a move that Bochy wants to explore now. The club simplyneeds more offense at the corner infield positions, and they feel they have abetter chance of getting it with Sandoval at third base.
We have enough first basemen now, said Bochy, who isgiving most starts to Brandon Belt. I have confidence someone will step up.Right now, we feel its more important to have (Sandoval) at third base. Forthe most part up here, there are offensive-type guys.
Sandoval told the AP: "Its important what I think,what they think (coaches, trainers). If they think I should lose weight, Imgoing to lose it."
Sandoval had a few at-bats from the right side at Triple-AFresno and told Manolo Hernandez-Douen of beisbolporgotas.com that he felt nopain in his left hand. He said he is nearing full strength as well.
Bochy said he would look to protect Sandoval againstleft-handed relievers, but wouldnt automatically pinch-hit for him. Itlldepend on the situation.
Even if the front office is displeased with Sandovalscommitment after signing a three-year, 17.15 million contract over the winter,Bochy left no doubt that he thinks a lot of his 25-year-old switch-hitter.
Its good to have Pablo back, Bochy said. It is. He wasswinging the bat well before he got hurt. He adds power.
Sandoval will bat third until Melky Cabrera returns from hishamstring injury, which might not happen until Tuesday. After that, Bochy saidhe would reassess the lineup.