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.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.