Sandoval sees nothing wrong in passing Wright

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Sandoval sees nothing wrong in passing Wright

SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval strode through the clubhousewith a huge smile, a loud whistle and no apologies.

He had just learned he was elected the NLs starting third baseman for the NLAll-Star team, sacking the Mets David Wright as Giants fans stuffed the ballotbox with an unrelenting deluge of votes in the final week.

Wright ranks second in the NL with a 1.013 OPS and a .355batting average. Meanwhile, Sandoval has posted productive numbers but missed40 games with a fractured left hand.

Nobody in a Giants uniform could come out and say that Sandovaldeserves to start over Wright. But they couldnt claim the opposite, either.

These fans of ours, they love their players, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. Theyre passionate and they came out in full force.You look at what David Wright has done hes having an incredible year andPablos missed some time. But hes got some good numbers, too.

No doubt, its all because of these fans. They came out innumbers and got it done.

Entering the final week of online voting, Wright had nearly2.7 million votes and held an edge over Sandoval that exceeded 400,000. Butwhen the final totals were announced Sunday, Sandoval powered his way to a 1.6million vote landslide victory. He finished with 5,743,542 to Wrights4,133,380.

A bit awkward? Yes. But it didnt diminish Sandovals gleeupon winning.

The Kung Fu Panda acknowledged Wrights remarkable season.

Hes having a great year, said Sandoval, who is batting.316 with six home runs and 25 RBIs. Im surprised I made it because I thinkhes had a great year. But the fans give you great support. They give you apush.

I just say thank you to the fans. I focus on playing mygame and you see what happens. When youre having fun, then your dreams cancome true.

Its the second time that Sandoval made the All-Star teamdespite missing more than a month with a hamate fracture. Last year, he was alate selection to the NL team by Bochy as an injury replacement.

Last year I was a backup guy, Sandoval said. This yearits going to be different.

Sandoval said he had no idea until he arrived at theballpark and received the news.

I just keep praying and my fingers crossed, he said. Imhappy I made it. Every moment, Im excited with this organization. They gave methe opportunity to be here.

Its been a trying first half for Sandoval, who dealt withthe frustration of fracturing the hamate in his left hand one year after havingthe same surgery to remove the bone in his right hand.

Club officials continue to keep on him about his wellpublicized weight issues, although he has responded by slimming down in recentweeks.

Sandoval also remains the subject of a sexual assaultinvestigation by the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs Department, which is in thefinal stages of completion. Sandovals attorney, Eric Geffon, said he andSandoval continue to cooperate with detectives but that his client committed nocriminal acts.

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ty Blach is the young one in the race to be the fifth starter, but on Sunday he sounded like a veteran. Asked if he has gotten a hint one way or the other about his opening day role, Blach smiled.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day and trying to get better,” Blach said. “I’m enjoying the process and having fun.”

Smooth. 

Those days are adding up to a nice spring for Blach, the left-hander trying to unseat Matt Cain. While Bruce Bochy didn’t shed any additional light on the current lean, team officials hinted Sunday that this is not as open-and-shut as it seems. Matt Cain, who will start Tuesday, looked like a lock to be the fifth starter a week ago, but the Giants are considering all options because they have an off day during the first week and two more shortly thereafter. 

“We’ve had discussions every day,” Bochy said. “We’ve got some tough calls.”

The Giants are expected to announce their official rotation when they return home for the Bay Bridge Series. Whether he’s starting, long-relieving, or pitching in a completely new role, Blach has certainly done all he can to make sure he’s in the big leagues on April 2. He gave up two runs over six innings Sunday, walking one and striking out one while giving up seven hits. Blach has allowed 10 runs in 20 1/3 innings this spring, but four of those came when he was ambushed coming out of the bullpen one day.

“Wherever I’ll be, I know I’ll be in a good spot,” Blach said. “I’m just looking forward to getting the season rolling.

After pitching out of the bullpen most of the spring, Blach got his pitch count up to 85 on Sunday. 

“We’ve gotten him stretched out,” Bochy said. “That’s a solid, solid job. We’ve got guys stretched out where you want them. We’ve got some flexibility. We’ll see as we get close here which way we’ll go.”

POSITION BATTLES: The Giants will carry a backup for Denard Span, and for about a month it looked like Gorkys Hernandez would be that guy. But Hernandez has slumped so badly this spring that he went over the minor league facility Sunday to get a ton of extra at-bats, and Justin Ruggiano has emerged, reaching base in nine of his last 16 plate appearances. The plan a few days back was for Ruggiano to go to Sacramento and get 50 or so at-bats to see where he’s at, but this is another race that could change in the coming week. 

Cory Gearrin has done his part to hold off any charging relievers, throwing two sharp innings while going back-to-back for the first time this spring. 

FAMILIAR FACES: A rough day for a couple of longtime Giants. Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco both have oblique injuries, hurting their odds of breaking with the Twins and Diamondbacks, respectively. Elsewhere, David Hernandez showed that he made a smart decision asking for his release. He was signed by the Braves. 

AROUND CAMP: Hunter Pence really does do all he can to make every single teammate feel welcome in the clubhouse. He spent some time with young right-hander Roberto Gomez on Sunday morning, learning a few Spanish phrases. When the players went out to warm up, Pence threw with Jae-Gyun Hwang. These are small gestures, but for the new guys, they matter. 

BARRY’S BACK: We all knew Barry Bonds would step into the cage at some point, and on a quiet Sunday morning, there he was. Bonds, 52, took about five or six easy hacks before crushing one out to deep right. He’s still got it. The other day, reporters asked Bonds if he could suit up in the WBC if asked. He said he can absolutely still hit, but he would need to DH and he would need a day or two off before games. Being a big league hitter is not easy, even if he always made it look that way.

 

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants knew Barry Bonds would step back into the box at some point. It happened Sunday, with Bonds taking a few cracks at BP pitches from Gary Davenport.

Bonds warmed up with a couple of lighter swings and then blasted a homer to deep right. That was enough, as the 52-year-old walked away with a big smile on his face. 

Bonds is in camp as a special instructor, and he still picks his spots to show off his legendary swing. When he was the Marlins' hitting coach last season, he beat slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an impromptu home run derby.