Giants “pretty optimistic” Pablo Sandoval will be ready for Monday’s season-opener

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Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been experiencing discomfort in his right elbow for over two weeks and felt renewed pain Friday after making a pair of plate appearances in a Cactus League game. But he still hasn’t been ruled out for Opening Day.

“It’s going to go down to the wire,” manager Bruce Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday. “It won’t be an easy call, but we’re pretty optimistic that he’s going to make it.”

“I’m feeling better,” added Sandoval when asked about the elbow. “If I’m allowed to, I’m going to be there.” If the Giants decide to play it safe, Joaquin Arias will probably get the fill-in start at the hot corner.

Sandoval, 26, batted .283/.342/.447 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI over 108 games last summer for the eventual World Series champions. He appeared in 117 games with the Giants in 2011.

San Francisco opens its regular-season schedule Monday afternoon against the Dodgers.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.