SAN FRANCISCO It should have been a day of progress for PabloSandoval, who batted third as the designated hitter for Single-A San Jose whilebeginning his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday.
Instead, as CSN Bay Area first reported, Sandoval and theGiants face the serious matter of a sexual assault investigation.
Giants officials and coaches already were not pleased withSandovals weight, which has become an issue again. Now their All-Star thirdbaseman faces another major impediment. And while there are plenty of missingfacts, club officials are not happy that Sandoval would even put himself inthis kind of position to have his actions questioned.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval has to focus on baseball.
Well, he needs to, said Bochy, asked about the Santa CruzSheriffs Department investigation after the Giants 2-1 victory over the Cubson Saturday. Hes down there (at Stockton) tonight. Hell DH and he needs toget ready to help us out. Thats what he has to do. We need him here.
As far as that other stuff, you heard our statement. For us, he needs to get ready. Thatswhy hes down there right now.
Were focused on baseball. Those questions will go to hisattorney. We wont have any distractions, I dont care what it may be.
Bochy made it as clear as he could: Ryan Theriot has becomehis everyday second baseman and No. 2 hitter.
Theriot has solidified the No. 2 hole, Bochy said. Youhave to like all the little things hes done since hes been back. Hes got alot of experience and at-bats there, and he will remain there.
Theriot said he used the time on the DL (with an inflamedright elbow) to study his swing and make adjustments.
Its paid off tremendously, he said.
Theriot is definitely beginning to feel more comfortable inevery aspect. He was pretty reserved in the spring and not too outgoing. Now hesletting his personality show, and hes definitely someone who wouldve fit inon the World Series roster of goofballs.
He wears white calf-length muckboots as shower shoes. Whatmore do you need to know?
Its hard to believe Matt Cain is 75-75 for his career, aswell as hes pitched. In a recent player poll published in Sports Illustrated,he was voted the most underrated pitcher in baseball.
The players know you shouldnt judge Cain by his record.
You know what youre going to get, Theriot said. Comingin here as an opponent, you know youre going to get his best every time.
Theriot is a .150 hitter (3-for-20, one walk, threestrikeouts) against Cain in his career. So he knows of what he speaks.
Ill tell you this, Theriot said. Theres going to be alot more wins than losses when its all said and done.
Buster Posey will start at first base on Sunday, Bochy said.Thats something the Giants had gotten away from in recent weeks while playing20 games in 20 days. It became more valuable for Bochy to give Posey full daysoff to keep from wearing out his cleanup hitter.
Now the Giants will have some breaks in the schedule,though. And they are still just as flummoxed to find production at first base especially against left-handers like Travis Wood, who will take the mound forthe Cubs. Brett Pill is batting .189 against lefties. Neither Aubrey Huff norBrandon Belt has emerged, either.
So expect Posey to pick up a first basemans glove moreoften.
Its hard to imagine the Giants improving defensively atthird base when Sandoval returns. Thats how good Joaquin Arias has become,despite very little career experience at the position.
The play he made in the ninth inning to start a twinkilling, when he was in on the grass to defend against a possible bunt and thenfielded a slap-shot grounder, was a game saver.
Id say hes gotten better, Bochy said. Hes gottencomfortable right away, and thats whats impressive about him. Now, hes alsobeen playing a lot. Hes probably a little tired. But hes done a nice job overthere.
Arias is taking grounders at shortstop and hell probablytake some starts for Brandon Crawford against lefties after Sandoval returns.Hell also mix in at second base, and perhaps hell start hitting a little morewhen the Giants can afford to pace him better.
At least Arias was able to put the ball in play to drive inthe tiebreaking run on a ground out. That goes right along with Bochys theoryto put the ball in play and make something happen.
For a time, the Giants were striking out way too much. Bochysees a better approach and better at-bats now.
Oh, our at-bats have improved over the last three weeks,Bochy said. Its competing out there. Its finding ways to put the ball inplay. Guys are definitely doing a better job seeing pitches.