OAKLAND -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said third baseman Pablo Sandoval is "doing a lot better today" after leaving last night's game after two at-bats with discomfort in his right elbow. Sandoval isn't in the Giants' lineup for today's game against the A's, but Bochy said he could get an at-bat later in the game.
Sandoval's (left) status for opening day remains up in the air, and Bochy said that decision could go "down to the wire," meaning Monday morning. Bochy said the Giants are "optimistic" Sandoval will be available against the Dodgers on Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, but they have to consider his health over a full season.
Bochy said the Giants could use Sandoval off the bench the first few games of the season to avoid having to put him on the disabled list. The DL is an option, but the "last option," Bochy said.
"It's not going to be an easy call," Bochy said.
Sandoval was out playing catch and taking grounders before today's game and making strong throws across the diamond. He did say yesterday that throwing wasn't bothering him. He felt the discomfort batting left-handed in the fourth inning Friday night. He's wearing a sleeve over his right arm today.
Catcher Hector Sanchez is current playing in an extended spring training game in Arizona. The Giants will see how he responds to back-to-back days of catching before deciding whether to have him on the 25-man roster Monday.
"If he comes out of this fine then we'll see him in L.A.," Bochy said.
That's also a decision that figures to come down to the wire, meaning Cole Gillespie and Guillermo Quiroz remain in limbo on the last day of preseason play. If the Giants choose to carry five outfielders they'll keep Gillespie; if they decide to with three catchers it'll be Quiroz.
Gillespie said it's an unprecedented situation for him to reach the final day of spring without knowing where he'll open the season. He said he feels he's had a "good opportunity" to show the Giants what he can do this spring and realizes he'll just have to wait out the circumstances.
Infielder Nick Noonan, who found out late Friday night he'll open the season with the Giants, said he and his family "had a moment" when he gave them the news at AT&T Park after the game. Noonan's parents, two brothers and fiancÃ©e were in attendance, he said. All live in San Diego, so they'll be able to make it to L.A. for opening day.
Bochy was asked this morning if he has a favorite opening day memory. He said he doesn't -- but he has a worst opening day memory. That was in 1995 - his first season as a manager. On opening day, his San Diego Padres were handed a 10-2 loss by the Houston Astros.
"They were ready to hang me then," Bochy said. "I said, 'One game and they want me fired? This is a tough job.'"
The Padres finished 70-74 in that shortened season. But 1,454 wins and two World Series rings after that first game, it's pretty clear Bochy made the right decision sticking with it.
-- Matt Kawahara