Sandoval returns, immediately gets put in heart of Giants lineup

Sandoval returns, immediately gets put in heart of Giants lineup

SAN FRANCISCO — The visiting team’s cleanup hitter on Saturday night, Paul Goldschmidt, is a frontrunner for the National League MVP award. The home team’s cleanup hitter was designated for assignment last month and recently hit .207 during a Triple-A assignment. 

What’s up with that? 

“Where we’re at with the lineup, he’s a left-handed batter who has experience hitting there,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Pablo Sandoval. “I didn’t want to move (Jarrett) Parker and I have (Brandon) Crawford hitting third. I wanted to keep (Hunter) Pence in the five-hole against a righty.”

That’s one indictment of the current roster. Here’s another: The Giants brought Sandoval up early in part because they’re hoping to get a spark for a struggling and often lifeless team. They didn't have many options, and they felt Sandoval was the best one. 

“The initial thinking was a few more at-bats, but sometimes your hand is forced by injuries,” Bochy said. “We need a little presence here, a guy to help spark us and bring some energy. Pablo has always done that. This club could use a little shot in the arm.”

So, here’s Sandoval, back in San Francisco after getting a 1 a.m. call Friday night. The Giants needed to make a roster move after Brandon Belt was put on the concussion disabled list. For now, Ryder Jones will play first and Sandoval will be at third, although Buster Posey could also move over to first, with Jones in the outfield. 

Sandoval said he doesn’t worry about the details. He’s excited to be back, and he said he cried when he called his fiancé on Friday night to give the news. 

“I got emotional,” Sandoval said. “I’m excited … I’m blessed to be back.”

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”