Giants manager Bruce Bochy provided an update Sunday on the status of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was placed on the disabled list in late April with a fractured hamate bone.
According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Sandoval will take batting practice with his Giants teammates when the club arrives in St. Louis on Monday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment soon after if all goes smoothly.
Bochy told Baggarly that Sandoval will be asked to take around 20 at-bats in the minor leagues before the Giants consider activating him.
Sandoval was batting a healthy .313/.374/.530 with 14 RBI through his first 91 late appearances this season. He hasn’t played in close to a month but remains the Giants’ co-leader in home runs with five.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.