Sandoval's sloppy play means he won't enjoy a day off


Sandoval's sloppy play means he won't enjoy a day off


SAN FRANCISCO Pablo Sandoval wont join his teammates fora day of rest and relaxation on Monday.

Hell report to AT&T Park for a full conditioningsession, including plenty of defensive drills at third base.

He has missed some time, said Giants manager Bruce Bochy,and its vital we do a good job defensively.

Sandoval, whose weight has resurfaced as a major issue, didnot do a good job behind Tim Lincecum in Sundays 5-0 loss to the TexasRangers. There were no less than four mistakes that either contributed torun-scoring rallies or were covered up by the efforts of his teammates.

Mistake No.1, fourth inning: Sandoval couldnt make abackhand stop on Craig Gentrys infield single. Its the kind of play JoaquinArias has made several times in the six weeks when Sandoval was on the DL witha fractured hand. Instead of two outs and the pitcher coming up, the Rangerswere able to extend the inning.

Mistake No.2, fourth inning: Pitcher Alexi Ogando put down asacrifice bunt and Sandovals first motion was to cover third base. But Lincecumhad fallen off the mound to the first base side while trying to get some extrafinish on his pitch. Sandoval wasnt athletic enough to change direction andOgando ended up with an infield single, loading the bases. (Bochy said afterthe game that Sandoval shouldve charged the bunt and gotten the out at firstbase.) Ian Kinsler followed with a two-run double that couldve been avoided ifnot for the earlier mistakes in the inning.

Mistake No.3, sixth inning: Sandoval skipped his throw tosecond base after fielding a bunt. Shortstop Brandon Crawford reached backwhile making a difficult pick to bail him out and get the forceout.

Mistake No.4, sixth inning: Sandoval dropped Elvis Andruspotential double-play grounder with one out. The Giants settled for theforceout at second base, then Josh Hamilton followed with a two-run double thatrocked Lincecum from the game.

In addition, Sandoval couldnt knock down Adrian Beltres(admittedly hard-hit) RBI double in the third inning. And he dropped a throwfrom the outfield, too.

It all happened behind Lincecum, who needs a clean game morethan anyone these days.

It wasnt his greatest game there, I agree, Bochy said.He came off a pretty good game. Hell work on it. We will have him come uptomorrow and do some stuff.

Bochy reiterated that he wants Sandoval to play third base,but he also acknowledged the possibility that the club could be forced to movehim across the diamond. The Giants dont have a right-handed hitting firstbaseman to start against left-handers now that Brett Pill is in the minor leagues.

Bochy said Buster Posey could get more starts there, or hecould even take a look at Hector Sanchez. The switch-hitting catcher is gettingmore ground balls at the position in recent days.

This will be an issue soon. The Giants will face two leftiesin their upcoming series against Houston. The Astros plan to start J.A. Happ onWednesday and Wandy Rodriguez on Thursday.

At least Sandoval looks up to the task at the plate. He hadtwo at-bats Sunday hitting right-handed, from which he is still not 100 percentafter left hand surgery, and he didnt look weak over overmatched either time.He grounded out against tough lefty Robbie Ross and scalded a line drive thatthird baseman Adrian Beltre snagged.

It would seem to be an easy call to make Sandoval the firstbaseman, at least against left-handed pitchers. But as Bochy pointed out, thatwould mean playing Arias at third base and Brandon Crawford at short. Thethought had been to get Crawford some rest against lefties by platooning Ariasthere.

Given the way the Giants victories have corresponded withplaying cleaner defensive games, youd think they would want to put their bestdefensive team on the field. Perhaps theyll reach that stage and make aconcession with Sandoval, much as they did late in 2010 when they benched him,moved Juan Uribe to third and stuck Edgar Renteria back in the lineup.

Or maybe Sandoval will work his rear end off and provehimself a capable third baseman again.

For now, at least, its very much a current question -- justas current as Lincecums losing streak.

Magic Johnson vows World Series win for Dodgers this year


Magic Johnson vows World Series win for Dodgers this year

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 71-31 ahead of a three-game home series with the San Francisco Giants, and owners the best record in baseball. 


Confident co-owner Magic Johnson on Thursday made a bold statement.

"Last but not least, the Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year," he said while standing next to Clayton Kershaw and addressing a group at Dodgers Stadium during a "Ping Pong 4 Purpose — Kershaw's Challenge" event.

"That's the only ring I don't have and I need that ring."

The Dodgers have been eliminated from the playoffs in each of the past four seasons -- twice in the NLDS and twice in the NLCS. They haven't reached the World Series since defeating the A's in 1988.

"And last but not least, the @dodgers are going to win the World Series this year." #pingpong4purpose #dodgers #dodgersradio

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Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni.