Tag:Pablo Sandoval
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:10 pm

Holliday ranks top in big week for returns

Sunday night, after the Giants activated Pablo Sandoval from the disabled list, I asked on Twitter which of the five big-name players coming off the DL this week would have the biggest impact on the pennant race.

One problem: I missed two of them.

There aren't five big-name players that could come off the DL this week. There are seven.

Seven players who have combined for 17 All-Star appearances, six batting titles, one MVP and two runners-up, four Gold Gloves and 15 Silver Sluggers.

And I didn't even include Jason Heyward, who began a rehabilitation assignment with the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett team, and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.

Anyway, I'll ask the question again: Which one will have the biggest impact on the pennant race?

And I'll try to answer it:

1. Matt Holliday, Cardinals, left quadriceps, last played May 31, could return Thursday. When Holliday missed seven early-season games with appendicitis, the Cardinals scored just 18 runs and went 2-5. He's missed the last 11 games, and they've scored 49 runs and gone 5-6. They're a first-place team that scores plenty of runs when he plays, a sub-.500 team that struggles to score when he doesn't. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it looks reasonably certain that this Holliday absence won't last much longer.

2. Travis Hafner, Indians, right oblique, last played May 17, could return late this week. Even with Hafner, the Indians may not be good enough to hold on in the American League Central race. But it's clear that without him, they've got no chance. The numbers are skewed a little by the strong pitching Cleveland has faced since Hafner went out, but it's still stunning to see that they were shut out just once with him in the lineup -- and six times in the 24 games he has missed. The Indians were hitting .271 as a team when Hafner got hurt. They've hit .224 as a team (with a .289 on-base percentage and a .346 slugging percentage) without him. The Indians will go as far as their talented young hitters can take them, but those young hitters are hurting without Hafner's presence in the lineup. Hafner is due to begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double-A Akron. The Indians have told him they'd like him to stay there three or four days.

3. Joe Mauer, Twins, bilateral leg weakness, last played April 12, could return Thursday. If the Twins weren't already nine games out, Mauer would top this list. If they were still 20 games under .500, as they were a couple weeks back, he'd be farther down the list. The Twins aren't nearly the same team without Mauer, but his impact on the pennant race is limited by how bad they've been without him -- and by the continuing uncertainty about how effective he'll be when he returns.

4. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, back inflammation, last played May 29, expected to return Tuesday. The Marlins, finishing up a brutal offensive homestand that cost hitting coach John Mallee his job, obviously need a boost. Ramirez, a one-time National League batting champ, could obviously provide it. But will he? Ramirez hit just .210 in 48 games before going on the DL. Even with that, the Marlins were just two games behind the Phillies when Ramirez last played. They're seven games out now, and he'll be back for the start of a four-game series in Philadelphia.
5. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, right ankle weakness, last played May 10, returning Monday night. If he hits .172, as he did before the Tigers put him on the DL, he's the least important guy on this list. If he's a .300 hitter, as he has been for most of his career (including last year), he's as important as anyone, and might be enough to make the Tigers clear favorites in the AL Central.

6. Pablo Sandoval, Giants, fractured hamate bone, last played April 29, will return Tuesday. The way the Giants struggle to score runs, some will make the case that the Panda is as important as anyone. I dropped him down only because the Giants went 25-16 in his absence. Yes, Buster Posey is out of the lineup now, but the Giants are above .500 since he's been out, too.

7. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, abdominal surgery, last played April 9, expected to return Tuesday. The Nationals without Zimmerman might be the worst offensive team in the game. The Nationals with Zimmerman could hope to escape last place by passing the Mets. It's hard to say Zimmerman will impact the pennant race, except by making the Nationals a significantly tougher opponent.

Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:55 pm

Some tweet . . . and some goggle?

Ozzie Guillen tweets . And it cost him money.

Joe Maddon tweets , and provides information. Wednesday, the Rays manager disclosed on Twitter that his team will dress in Navy Seal Team 6 T-shirts and Tampa Bay Lightning caps on its upcoming trip.

Pablo Sandoval tweets. Wednesday, he provided a picture of himself in his hospital bed, getting ready for surgery.

But not everyone in baseball tweets.

"I don't know how to tweet," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday.

He's not alone.

"What's a tweet?" Jim Leyland asked Tigers writers this spring.

Leyland is the same guy who once said, "I don't Google. I don't goggle."
Posted on: October 31, 2010 4:36 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2010 5:27 pm

Giants drop Burrell, Sandoval for Game 4

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Are you tired of watching Pat Burrell strike out in the World Series?

Apparently, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is. Bochy benched Burrell for Game 4 on Sunday night, electing to start Nate Schierholtz in the outfield instead. Bochy also switched designated hitters from Game 3, picking Aubrey Huff (with Travis Ishikawa playing first base) over Pablo Sandoval.

Bochy said he plans to put Burrell back in the lineup for Game 5 Monday night, against Cliff Lee. Burrell struck out twice in two official at-bats against Lee in Game 1, but he also had his one impressive World Series at-bat, for a fifth-inning walk.

"This will give Pat a chance to work on things, and get his timing back," Bochy said.
Burrell helped the Giants get to the playoffs, after signing with San Francisco when he was released by the Rays, but in the postseason he has reverted to the form that cause the Rays to dump him in the first place. Burrell is 6-for-38 with 19 strikeouts since the playoffs began, and he was 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in the first three games against the Rangers.

The weak-hitting Giants don't have all that many options. Schierholtz was just a .242 hitter this season, with no power. Ishikawa hit .266, but also with little power. But at least Schierholtz and Ishikawa are decent defensive players. In fact, Bochy has often used Schierholtz as a late-inning defensive replacement for Burrell, and Ishikawa as a late-inning replacement for Huff at first base.

"It's the back end of the game starting the game," Bochy said.

With no Burrell in the lineup, Bochy moved Cody Ross (his one truly hot hitter) up to fifth in the lineup. Earlier this postseason, Bochy had batted Ross eighth.

Posted on: February 26, 2010 4:03 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 4:17 pm

'He might hit .500'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's something different about Pablo Sandoval this spring, and it's not his size.

It's those goggles.

It turns out that when Sandoval was hitting .330 with 25 home runs for the Giants last year, he couldn't see. Or at least, that his vision out of his left eye wasn't that good.

So when a eye test in November showed that his vision wasn't 20-20, Sandoval got glasses. He wore them in Venezuela over the winter, and he was wearing them this morning during live batting practice at the Giants' spring training camp.

"It's so clear now," Sandoval said.

His teammates think about what Sandoval did last year, and just shake their heads.

"He's says he couldn't see the ball," said Bengie Molina. "It's going to be scary [this year]. He might end up hitting .500."

Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval isn't the first hitter with less-than-perfect vision, pointing to Tony Gwynn as one example.

"He's just an incredible athlete," Bochy said. "It's hard enough to hit a baseball [with good vision]. Hopefully this makes Pablo even better."

For now, the goggles are the big difference for Sandoval. Despite all the talk about his offseason conditioning program, he looks to be about the same size as he was last year.

But now he can see, and now maybe he'll hit even better than .330.

"I don't know," Sandoval said. "We'll see when the season starts."


Molina said he's still surprised that the Mets never moved off their initial one-year, $5.5 million offer when he was a free agent over the winter. Molina eventually signed back with the Giants for a guaranteed $4.5 million, but with incentives that could pay him another $1.5 million.

"Why go to New York for one year and not see my family?" Molina said. "Three months, and they never changed their offer. That shows me they weren't that interested."

Molina knew the Giants wouldn't go past one year, because they eventually want to hand the catching job to Buster Posey. But he was pleased with the chance for one more season with the team he has been with for the last three years.

"I love this place," Molina said.

Category: MLB
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