Sanchez confident he'll be ready for Opening Day

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Sanchez confident he'll be ready for Opening Day

Freddy Sanchez is confident he'll be ready to play come the 2012 season opener.

"I will be ready," Sanchez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Im definitely right on schedule if not ahead of schedule.

Sanchez, who had season-ending shoulder surgery last August, is coming off a three-week strengthening program in Arizona.

"My strength has come a long way," he said.

Sanchez began his throwing program two weeks ago. He is now out to 60 feet, and he says his surgically-repaired shoulder "is feeling really good." He plans to begin a hitting program, which is less trying on the shoulder than throwing, in early January.

The Giants are relying heavily on their second baseman. This offseason, they have used the return of Sanchez and injured catcher Buster Posey as reasons why they don't need to acquire a big bat, saying the return of Sanchez and Posey is the equivalent of adding two new players.

Sanchez, 33, is due 6 million in the second of a two-year deal this coming season. He hit .289 with three home runs in 60 games last year, before diving for a ball up the middle against the Reds June 10 and suffering the dislocated shoulder that would end his season.

The update on Sanchez at this point is positive, but he'll be a few weeks behind the other position players when he reports to Spring Training, which he plans to do early with the pitchers and catchers.

Hundley comes through late for Giants, pick up walk-off win vs Padres

Hundley comes through late for Giants, pick up walk-off win vs Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO  — Nick Hundley singled in Kelby Tomlinson with two outs in the 12th inning, lifting the San Francisco Giants to a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday.

Pinch-hitter Tomlinson reached on a fielder's choice and took second on a wild pitch from Kevin Quackenbush (0-2). After Hunter Pence flied out, Hundley lined an 0-1 pitch over the head of left fielder Jose Pirela as Tomlinson rounded third and scored without a throw.

It was Hundley's fifth game-ending hit of his career and his first since July 11, 2014, with Baltimore.

It was the Giants' second win in the last nine games against their division rivals at AT&T Park.

Eduardo Nunez had three hits and two RBIs, Hundley singled twice and San Francisco took advantage of an error by San Diego shortstop Allen Cordoba that led to three unearned runs.

Will Myers hit his second homer in two days as part of San Diego's four-run fourth but the Padres wasted multiple opportunities and lost for the fourth time in six games.

Josh Osich (3-1) retired five batters and struck out three in getting the win.

One day after the teams played 11 innings in a game that lasted nearly 5 hours, the Giants and Padres had another extended battle.

The Giants left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded runners at second and third in the eighth.

San Diego got the go-ahead runner to third with two outs in the ninth but came up short when pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez grounded out.

Both teams had the leadoff runner on in the 10th but failed to score.

SEEING TRIPLE:
Luis Perdomo hit his third triple of the season in the fourth inning. The last pitcher to hit three triples in a season was Dontrelle Willis in 2007. Perdomo's three triples this season are the most-ever by a Padre pitcher in team history (since 1969). The Padres have four triples in the first three games of this series.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: INF Erick Aybar was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised left foot. The injury happened Friday night when Aybar fouled a ball off his foot. LHP Buddy Bauman was reinstated from the 60-day DL to take Aybar's spot.

Giants: C Buster Posey was held out of the starting lineup after catching all 11 innings of Friday's game. San Francisco's All-Star struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

UP NEXT:
RHP Dinelson Lamet (3-4, 6.40 ERA) pitches the series finale for San Diego on Sunday while the Giants counter with LHP Ty Blach (6-5, 4.36 ERA). Lamet has had seven or more strikeouts in five of his nine starts this season.

Sandoval returns, apologizes to fans for way he left Giants

Sandoval returns, apologizes to fans for way he left Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — The first two steps of Pablo Sandoval’s second stint in San Francisco were positive. 

Sandoval showed up to AT&T Park on Saturday in decent shape, the kind that will allow him to go straight to the minors instead of spending a few weeks cutting pounds. He also said the right things, apologizing to fans for comments made in the months and year after he left the Giants for supposedly greener pastures. 

“I learned my lesson,” Sandoval said a few seconds after sitting down with reporters. “I made a lot of mistakes.”

Sandoval said he also needed to apologize to former teammates, many of whom have not forgotten a Bleacher Report article from Sandoval’s first spring with the Red Sox. 

Back then, Sandoval told Scott Miller the decision to leave San Francisco was “not hard at all.” On Saturday, he said there was simply a “miscommunication.”

Back then, Sandoval said, “I knew early in spring training last year I was going to leave.” On Saturday, he claimed that he would have come and said he’s “excited, excited to be back … I’m thankful to the Giants.”

Back then, Sandoval said he didn’t miss his former teammates. "Only Bochy," he told Bleacher Report. "I love Boch. He's like my dad. He's the only guy that I miss. And Hunter Pence. Just those guys.” On Saturday, Sandoval said, “If I mentioned a lot of people, it was going to be the whole roster … Hunter was like my brother and Bochy was like my dad.”

It will be up to the players and team employees to decide how they really feel three years later. Some, most notably Pence, have been effusive in their praise of the move. Others have been more guarded, and some have grumbled. And make no mistake about it, there are executives at high levels of the organization who do not agree with a reunion. Why do it, then? 

“You look at it as a free look at a player who has done some good things in this game and has the talent to hit  baseball,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Sometimes a change of scenery can get a player back to the player he was and he was pretty good here. This allows you to take a look and make a call if you think he can help you or not. There’s no guarantee.”

Bochy called it a “win-win” situation and said this was not a marketing move, but it certainly won’t hurt the organization’s affiliates. Sandoval will DH for the San Jose Giants on Saturday and join Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. He is expected to get at least 40-50 at-bats before the Giants make a decision.

Sandoval said his shoulder, which ended his 2016 season, is healthy, and he has resumed switch-hitting. It has been three years since he has been a productive big leaguer, but he is still just 30 years old. 

“I have to prove a lot of things,” Sandoval said. “I hope to be back and doing the best (I can).”

The Giants did not guarantee a return to the big leagues, but the coast is clearing up. Eduardo Nuñez, the incumbent at third, is Bobby Evans’ best trade chip and could be gone by August 1. Christian Arroyo is on the minor league disabled list. Ryder Jones will play all over the field with Sandoval returning to Sacramento. Jae-gyun Hwang was optioned back to Triple-A on Saturday and faces an uncertain future in the organization. 

The history of this organization says that if Sandoval shows anything at all, he will be back at AT&T Park before the season is up. At that point, he’ll have to sit down with some teammates and coaches and possibly explain himself. There is more to this than an article written three years ago. It was an open secret that Sandoval was ready to move on, and he had some fun waving goodbye to fans at the 2014 parade. If and when he does return, Sandoval will hope for the best from a fan base that is divided on his return. He did his part to heal some wounds Saturday, signing autographs on his way out of the park.

For now, Sandoval said he’s ready for his second chance. 

“At the end of the day,” he said, “I’m happy to be back.”