SAN FRANCISCO -- Seemingly every time Giants manager Bruce Bochy fields a question about Pablo Sandoval's recovery, he reports the third baseman's considerable progress. The good news kept rolling in on Sunday.
Bochy said Sandoval (fractured hamate bone) is fielding ground balls, throwing and taking some light swings from both sides with the fungo bat, and he is on pace to return in about two weeks.
"I think he could play in a game -- maybe a little sooner, maybe a little later -- but two weeks is what I'd put it at right now," Bochy said. "He's on a fast pace now. Every day it's just better and better. He says it's a little sore, but he can feel the strength coming back every day, and that increases the things he can do on the baseball field. He could be playing for us in two weeks. It's just hard to say right now."
In 83 at-bats this season, Sandoval led the Giants in batting average (.313), slugging percentage (.530), on-base percentage and home runs (five -- tied with Pat Burrell). His potent bat would provide a boost to a San Francisco lineup that has at times struggled to consistently put runs on the board, and his presence at the hot corner would help solidify the infield with utility man Mark DeRosa (partially torn wrist tendon) on the disabled list.
Sandoval has been a bundle of energy before every game at AT&T Park, bouncing around the infield less than a month after fracturing the bone in his right hand. Bochy attributed his energy and work ethic to the results Sandoval saw from his offseason training program, which helped him lose about 40 pounds.
"I think he saw the benefit. I think he liked the way he looked, the way he feels with the loss of the added weight. He's continued to work hard," Bochy said. "It's hard to continue doing what he was doing in the offseason without killing himself, but he's maintaining it well. It's all about habits now. He's got much better eating habits. His routine every day, coming out here and working out, it's going to pay off in the long run, and he knows it."