SAN FRANCISCO — The visiting team’s cleanup hitter on Saturday night, Paul Goldschmidt, is a frontrunner for the National League MVP award. The home team’s cleanup hitter was designated for assignment last month and recently hit .207 during a Triple-A assignment.
What’s up with that?
“Where we’re at with the lineup, he’s a left-handed batter who has experience hitting there,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Pablo Sandoval. “I didn’t want to move (Jarrett) Parker and I have (Brandon) Crawford hitting third. I wanted to keep (Hunter) Pence in the five-hole against a righty.”
That’s one indictment of the current roster. Here’s another: The Giants brought Sandoval up early in part because they’re hoping to get a spark for a struggling and often lifeless team. They didn't have many options, and they felt Sandoval was the best one.
“The initial thinking was a few more at-bats, but sometimes your hand is forced by injuries,” Bochy said. “We need a little presence here, a guy to help spark us and bring some energy. Pablo has always done that. This club could use a little shot in the arm.”
So, here’s Sandoval, back in San Francisco after getting a 1 a.m. call Friday night. The Giants needed to make a roster move after Brandon Belt was put on the concussion disabled list. For now, Ryder Jones will play first and Sandoval will be at third, although Buster Posey could also move over to first, with Jones in the outfield.
Sandoval said he doesn’t worry about the details. He’s excited to be back, and he said he cried when he called his fiancé on Friday night to give the news.
“I got emotional,” Sandoval said. “I’m excited … I’m blessed to be back.”