From CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly:
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval had an MRI exam that ruled out major structural damage in his sore right elbow, and the Giants remain optimistic that their World Series MVP will start on opening day.
But Sandoval’s arm will bear watching all season, head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said. In addition to ulnar neuritis, Sandoval has a bone spur in his elbow that appears similar to the spur that had shown up on tests since 2009.
The bone spur is not causing Sandoval any pain right now, so it doesn’t need to be surgically removed.
“Most of these guys have spurs, and he has a chronic one,” Groeschner told Baggarly on Tuesday night.
Sandoval hasn’t thrown for a couple of days and could remain in shutdown mode for the rest of this week as a precautionary measure. He played winter ball and was on Team Venezuela for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, so the Giants aren’t too worried about getting him more Cactus League at-bats. San Francisco opens its regular-season schedule on April 1 against the Dodgers. And Sandoval should be in the starting lineup.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.