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.

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

Vin Scully on Dodgers Opening Day: ‘I’ll probably have things to do’

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Dodgers will play their first opening day since 1950 without Vin Scully calling their games. He won't be in the stands. He won't make a point of watching on TV, either.

"It's a day game. I'll probably have things to do," the famed 89-year-old announcer told The Associated Press from his home in Hidden Hills, California. "I might catch a piece of it."

Not that Scully has any regrets since retiring after last season. He says he's grateful for every minute he spent with the Dodgers, the franchise he joined 67 years ago in Brooklyn and followed to Los Angeles eight years later. He feels blessed to have worked as long as he did covering the game he fell in love with as a boy.

But he's learned that after a lifetime in the broadcast booth, watching a game as a fan holds little appeal.

"During the World Series back around '77 or '78, there was a game at Dodger Stadium with the Yankees, and I went to the game as a spectator. Now, I hadn't been as a spectator in a long, long time, and I felt somewhat restless that I wasn't broadcasting," Scully recalled Tuesday.

"I did not have the challenge of trying to describe, accurately and quickly, the way it should be done. I just sat there, and I was not happy, I'll be honest. So I realized that although I love the game, what I loved more was broadcasting it," he said.

Scully spoke to the AP because the Library of Congress has announced it will preserve his call of a 1957 game between the Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, the final time they played at the hallowed old stadium. Both teams moved to California after that season, opening up the West Coast to Major League Baseball.

Scully's call of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game is more famous. But that game at the Polo Grounds meant more to him personally, because he grew up going to games there, cheering for the Giants and dreaming of watching from the press box.

"It was so meaningful to me. I'm not sure what it really means to baseball fans anymore," Scully said. "The sands of time have washed over the Polo Grounds. But for me, it was one of the more memorable games I was ever involved in."

During that broadcast, Scully implored the players to take their time before there franchises left town: "Let's take it easy, we just want to take one last lingering look at both of you." The Library of Congress called it "a masterful example of the artistry that great sports announcers bring to their work, as well as their empathy for players and fans."

Six decades later, Scully is having an easier time letting go. So no plans to keep track Monday when Los Angeles plays the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.

"All summer long, I expect to get feelings of nostalgia, wistfulness, whatever the word may be, but no, I am comfortable, I do know in my heart and soul I am where I should be, and that really is all I need," he said.

"Sure, after 67 years, you'll bet I'll miss it," he added. "But heck, I miss the guys I hung out with when I was in school."

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco …