Bay Area Baseball

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

April 1, 2013
Sandoval 'a go' while Torres draws first start in LF platoon

LOS ANGELES -- Pablo Sandoval starts today after taking swings in the cage and throwing at AT&T Park yesterday with no problems. The Giants will continue to monitor him for the next several days, but manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval "wasn't hesitant throwing the ball or swinging a bat, so he's a go."

Throwing hasn't been a problem for Sandoval with his right elbow. It's been more swinging a bat -- particularly from the left side several days ago -- but Bochy said Sandoval "felt fine" yesterday. The Giants are glad to have Sandoval in the lineup -- he has six career RBIs against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, while the rest of the current Giants combined have two (one each to Buster Posey and Hunter Pence).

(Before the game, TVs in the visiting clubhouse were tuned to the MLB Network, which spent a couple minutes showing seemingly every at-bat Pence has ever had against Kershaw. This was not exactly a highlight reel for Pence, who has one hit in 23 career at-bats against the Dodgers' lefty. Pence wasn't at his locker while this was going on.)

* Andres Torres gets the start in left field over Gregor Blanco against lefty Clayton Kershaw as part of the platoon the Giants will use to start the season. That means Torres will likely start tomorrow as well against another Dodgers left-hander, Hyun-Jin Ryu, with Blanco getting his first start Wednesday against right-hander Josh Beckett.

Bochy said he doesn't expect to play left field as a "strict platoon" going forward.

"Whoever's hottest with the bat will be out there," he said.

* With today's day game followed by two night games and a day off before the Giants return to San Francisco for the home opener, Buster Posey should be able to catch all three games of this series, Bochy said. Posey also had a day off yesterday and got one at-bat as a designated hitter in the Giants' final exhibition game on Saturday, so he should be pretty well-rested.

Bochy also touched on the decision to keep Guillermo Quiroz as a third catcher, saying it "gives us more flexibility right now" with how the Giants use Posey and Hector Sanchez. Bochy said Quiroz showed to be a capable catcher during spring and that his at-bats "got better" as the spring went along, though his home run off Bartolo Colon on Saturday didn't factor into a decision that had mostly already been made.

Bochy said it was difficult explaining the decision to Cole Gillespie, who would have remained with the Giants had they chosen to keep five outfielders. Gillespie had been in competition with Francisco Peguero until Peguero was reassigned to the minors, and told Bochy he hadn't been aware of the potential to keep three catchers.

* Infielder Nick Noonan said last week before finding out he had made the opening day roster that he wouldn't take a picture of his locker nameplate for the exhibition games at AT&T Park -- "not official," he said -- but he would if he ended up having one at Dodger Stadium. So I asked him this morning if he'd followed through, and he said yes.

"Told you I would," he said.

Noonan said this actually isn't the first time he has suited up at Dodger Stadium. The San Diego native said he played three or four games here for a travel team when he was in high school. He said that team actually dressed in the visiting clubhouse as well.

"It's definitely a lot better filled with big leaguers," he said.

* Before the game the Giants took turns signing a jersey in support of victims of the Sandy Hook shootings.

* Bochy was informed that in the publication's season predictions, not a single ESPN analyst picked the Giants to repeat as N.L. champions.

"That changes everything," Bochy said.

-- 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.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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