Sandoval upbeat, excited, embraced by fans in return


Sandoval upbeat, excited, embraced by fans in return


SAN FRANCISCO No matter what controversy PabloSandoval might face off the field or how many pounds he packs on, the Giantsknow they are a better team with his bat in the lineup.

Their fans understand it, too.

Sandoval returned from the disabled list on Saturday to anovation that was loud, and by all indications, positive.

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He made all the plays at third base, survived a scare on aninside fastball that nearly hit his repaired left hand, and whistled an RBIsingle up the middle in the seventh inning.

And he was all smiles after the game, grateful for thechance to play in the big leagues again after a six-week absence and evengrateful for the scolding that Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave him about hisconditioning.

Yeah, yeah, Im excited he told me those things, said Sandoval, who received a lecture prior to the game. I want to work hard to get in shape. We have a great manager. He givesyou advice to work hard to be a better player. He told me, You have thetalent. Youve got to show it. Ill keep doing my routine Ive been doing forthe last couple weeks.

Off the field, the last few weeks have been anything butroutine for Sandoval. He remains under investigation by the Santa Cruz CountySheriffs Department and faces possible sexual assault charges stemming from anincident at a seaside resort June 1. Investigators interviewed Sandoval on thatday with his attorney present; they have not conducted subsequent interviewswith him, Deputy April Skalland said.

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Detectives expect to wrap up the investigationin another two weeks and submit a recommendation to the district attorneysoffice. He does not currently face charges, nor has he been arrested.

Despite the controversy, Sandoval experienced little to no backlash from fans in hisreturn. Fans of all ages continued to wear Panda hats and cheer each of hisat-bats.

When youve got fans like that supporting you every day,its exciting, Sandoval said. I go to the field every day and try to help myteam.

Sandoval was his usual, upbeat, aggressive self at the plate. He took a mighty cut at the first pitch from ScottFeldman and eventually flied out to center field in his first at-bat. He hittwo more fly outs before hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning.

The hit came one pitch after Sandoval got brushed back by afastball from Koji Uehara; the pitch hit Sandovals bat near his left hand,which he immediately began shaking. He said the vibrations didnt feel good,but he was OK.

Good, good. It doesnt bother me, said Sandoval, whobatted from the left side each time but said hes ready to hit lefties, too. Ican swing hard right-handed.

Sandoval missed seven weeks last season following his right hamate fracture. He missed six weeks this time after surgery to remove the same bone in his left hand.

Bochy said he was pleased with Sandovals performance in hisfirst game back.

He did a nice job at third base, Bochy said. He was alittle anxious at the plate early. He was getting himself out. He shortened upand got a hit. Thats usually the case when guys come back. Theyve got to slowit down. I thought he had a good batting practice. I thought itd take a gamefor him (to slow down). He looked good.

Said Sandoval: Its one month to come back. You want to doeverything in one at-bat, in one play. The last at-bat, I just try to calm downmyself.

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.”