Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

March 29, 2013
Sandoval in Giants lineup, says he's on track for opening day

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval is in the Giants' lineup for this evening's exhibition game against the A's as the designated hitter and said this afternoon he's sure he'll be available for opening day.

"No," Sandoval said, shaking his head, when asked if he has any doubts about his status for Monday.

Manager Bruce Bochy wasn't as definite, but said Sandoval's right elbow was feeling good enough today to play catch at 100 feet and take batting practice from the left side. Bochy said the Giants could still scratch Sandoval if he feels anything in the elbow, but "right now he's a go."

Should Sandoval play, the Giants won't be able to backdate him past today if they feel he needs to start the season on the disabled list. Sandoval last played in a game March 16. Bochy acknowledged that's a sign the Giants feel pretty good about where Sandoval is.

"Sure there's going to be some risk, but if something were to happen he probably would need a couple weeks anyway," Bochy said.

* Hector Sanchez (shoulder) caught six innings and went 1-for-3 with a home run at extended spring training today, Bochy said. Sanchez is scheduled to catch again tomorrow, at which point the Giants will decide whether he's healthy enough to open the season on the active roster.

"It looks like he could be a go," Bochy said.

* Bochy said the toughest roster call still facing the Giants' staff is the fifth outfielder, which is coming down to Cole Gillespie and Francisco Peguero. One thing the Giants are weighing is whether they want to have Peguero in a role where he might only be playing every fourth or fifth day, or in late-game situations, as opposed to getting regular playing time in the minors.

Bochy said the Giants expect to finalize their Opening Day roster tomorrow before playing the A's at the Coliseum. Sunday is an off day.

* Tonight's Giants lineup:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
DH Sandoval
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Belt
SS Crawford
LF Blanco
3B Noonan
SP Zito

That's the newly minted $167 million man starting at catcher. The Giants are having a press conference to formally announce Posey's eight-year extension in a few minutes, and we'll have more on the deal after that.

One thing Bochy did say in his pre-game comments about the mega-deals announced today for Posey and Tigers starter Justin Verlander, along with last year's agreement with Matt Cain -- at the time was the largest for a right-handed pitcher -- is that it seems to him baseball is returning to a state in which teams are able to lock up their core players for the long haul rather than losing them to free agency.

"If you're a Giants fan," he said, "that has to be exciting."

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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