UPDATE (3:00 PM): According to his brother Michael, Pablo Sandoval is back in the Magallanes lineup, batting fifth and playing third base in their game Sunday.
SAN FRANCISCO – It’s apparent that Pablo Sandoval has spent plenty of time in the gym this spring. Now the Giants have to hope he stays out of the trainer’s room.
Although it appeared to be a minor injury, Sandoval pulled up lame after running out a ground ball in the eighth inning and was lifted from a Venezuelan league playoff game Saturday night.
Sandoval’s hometown Navegantes de Magallanes were leading 11-2 at the time, so it’s likely that he exited as a precaution.
Sandoval hit a three-run homer earlier n the game help Magallanes open up a lead over Caribes de Anzoategui; the Navegantes won to take a 3-0 lead in the league’s final series.
The game also included a benches-clearing incident in the fifth inning, and although it was hard to tell the extent of Sandoval’s involvement from the footage online, former All-Star pitcher Carlos Zambrano threw several haymakers amid the scrum.
Sandoval didn’t appear to injure himself in the incident. He looked fine while working a long at-bat in the seventh inning; he limped after hitting a hard shot to third base in the eighth.
Sandoval has provided a huge boost to Magallanes, hitting .393 (11 for 28) with a home run, three doubles and seven RBI in seven games. He has drawn four walks, and impressively, struck out just once.
This will be a big season for Sandoval, who is entering his walk year and could be primed for a massive contract in free agency. Giants GM Brian Sabean has said he hopes to engage Sandoval’s camp in talks about a possible extension this spring.