Battered San Francisco Giants a bad bet right now
The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants apparently will be without two of their best hitters for a while as third baseman Pablo Sandoval, last year’s World Series MVP, is on the disabled list and second baseman Marco Scutaro no doubt will join him.
Sandoval was put on the disabled list Tuesday because of a strained tendon in his left foot. Sandoval will be in a walking boot for about a week, but he won’t be sitting still. Manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner said Sandoval will be worked hard during his 15 days on the DL in an attempt to get his weight under control.
Sandoval has hit the DL four times in the last three seasons. Inside the Giants organization, only a hamstring strain last season has even been tangentially connected to his weight. Sandoval also missed time with hamate fractures in both hands, a rarity. Bochy said Joaquin Arias will get the majority of the time at third base in Sandoval’s absence. Sandoval is hitting .289 with eight homers and 37 RBIs. Arias is batting just .238 with no homers and five RBIs.
Scutaro, meanwhile, left Tuesday’s game when he hurt when a pitch from Pirates reliever Tony Watson struck him on his hand with two outs in the seventh inning. The scene appeared almost identical to the May 20 incident when Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was hit on the pinkie of his pitching hand, sidelining him for 8-10 weeks.
X-rays confirmed that Scutaro’s finger wasn’t fractured. But, unable to straighten his pinkie — “It looked like a snake,” he said — he left the clubhouse with his finger in a plastic splint and the team figuratively holding its breath. Scutaro will visit a hand specialist Wednesday. If the doctor confirms the Giants’ fears that the tendons in Scutaro’s finger are damaged, the team could be without its most consistent hitter for an extended period. Scutaro, 37, went 1 for 3 with the hit-by-pitch in the game to raise his season batting line to a very impressive .332/.388/.444 in 58 games.
Manager Bruce Bochy said no roster move will be made until after Scutaro is checked out by the specialist. He said he couldn’t speculate on what the Giants will decide to do. Certainly GM Brian Sabean would be in the market for an infielder if Scutaro is out a while. One name that could pop up in trade talks is the Phillies’ Chase Utley, a free agent after the season. But Utley does have a limited no-trade clause and there are no signs, at least for now, that the Phillies are willing to make a move that looks like they are tossing in the towel on the season.
Tony Abreu started at second base Wednesday against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano. The Giants recalled infielder Nick Noonan from Triple-a Fresno after Sandoval went on the DL, and he is another option at second base.
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