SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – It’s been a rough spring for NL West clubs.
The Padres will be without Chase Headley, last year’s NL RBI leader, for a month because of a fractured finger. Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez will miss 10 weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. The Dodgers are worried about expensive new co-ace Zack Greinke, too. Meanwhile, the Rockies had to scratch pitchers Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa on consecutive days. And the Diamondbacks might begin the year without outfielders Adam Eaton or Cody Ross.
As for the Giants, they are nine days away from beginning the season. And their All-Star third baseman still cannot throw.
Pablo Sandoval tried to play catch on Saturday but even light duty proved too much, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Sandoval’s elbow remained sore, so the Giants shut him down and will reevaluate him on Sunday.
“We had to back off a little,” Bochy said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Sandoval has a bone spur in the back of his elbow that’s been there for several years and may or may not be contributing to an irritated ulnar nerve.
Bochy said surgery “has not been discussed at all.”
The manager said he was not yet concerned that Sandoval would have to begin the year on the disabled list, but “if he’s not making improvement tomorrow, we may feel that way.”
Joaquin Arias remains the primary third base backup while Sandoval is out, and Nick Noonan’s ability to play the hot corner is a feather in his cap as he tries to make the club in a reserve role.
The prognosis is a bit brighter for backup catcher Hector Sanchez (sore shoulder), who has resumed throwing and taking swings from the left side while reporting no pain. If he continues to make progress, he’ll catch an exhibition in two or three days, Bochy said.
First baseman Brett Pill, who had knee surgery on March 14, was cleared to begin taking swings on Sunday –- just 10 days after his meniscus cleanup was performed.
“I don’t know if that means just hitting off a tee or what,” Pill said. “But I’m happy they’re letting me do something.”