Giants

Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The "Let Pablo Pitch" movement officially will die on the operating table early next month when Pablo Sandoval undergoes Tommy John surgery.

But as one Giant talked about the rehab road ahead, he couldn't help but think of how well the ball has always come out of Sandoval's right hand. 

Alex Dickerson had Tommy John surgery a year ago and found he was slowed at times because his throwing motion put more stress on his surgically-repaired elbow. But Dickerson has seen Sandoval make enough throws from third to be confident about his ability to come back from the procedure. 

"I think it's something he's going to get through pretty easily because he's got a good throwing motion," Dickerson said. "It's not like mine where we had to rework some things. If you already have a good throwing motion, that comes a lot quicker."

Dickerson threw a natural cutter from the outfield and that put extra pressure on his elbow as he was cleared to pick up a ball last summer. He found the swinging part to be relatively uncomplicated, but because he had the procedure last March, he was out for a whole season. 

Dickerson returned healthy this season and turned into a middle-of-the-order bat for the Giants. At times he was right there with Sandoval, leading the charge, but the popular third baseman was shut down earlier this month when bone chips that have been in his elbow for six years acted up. 

 

The timing of the procedure -- it is scheduled for the first week of September -- is unfortunate given where the Giants are and Sandoval's relationship with Bruce Bochy, who is a month away from retirement. But it should give him a chance to contribute somewhere in late 2020. 

Dickerson said he was originally given a timeframe of 10 to 11 months and was fully cleared right at the 11-month mark. He was swinging a bat about four months in, and didn't find the buildup to full swings to be particularly cumbersome. Dickerson was confident Sandoval's unique style at the plate would return quickly.

"Once you're able to make a swing, you're able to make a swing. That part shouldn't be too difficult for him," he said. "I would expect him to make a normal swing pretty much overnight (once he's cleared) for the most part. That's who he is."

The complication, Dickerson feels, will come when swinging right-handed. That's part of what knocked Sandoval out this month, and even now the Giants feel he can swing from the left side without too many issues.

Perhaps Sandoval will come back as a left-handed hitter only, as the Giants have talked about in the past. That's to be decided, along with so much else about Sandoval's future. 

[RELATED: How Sandoval's Tommy John surgery could affect his free agency]

He is a free agent at the end of the year and will hit the market as a 33-year-old coming off major surgery. Sandoval will sort his options out as he rehabs, but there's little doubt about his ultimate goal.

"I've got more baseball in me," he said Saturday. "This is not the end of my career. I'll get healthy to come back and keep proving to people that I can play baseball."