Giants enjoying Sandoval's versatility

Giants enjoying Sandoval's versatility

DENVER -- Pablo Sandoval has been a chameleon over the past month, transforming himself into whatever the Giants need.

On Tuesday, the Venezuela native started at third base before switching to first in the sixth inning of the Giants' 6-5, 12-inning loss to the Rockies. On Wednesday, he made his sixth Major League start at catcher.

So what does manager Bruce Bochy think is Sandoval's most natural position?

"His best position is where we would need him," Bochy said. "I think he can play any of the three fairly well. He's done a good job catching, a good job at first. He hasn't played a whole lot at third, but I think in the limited time we've seen him, he's done fine over there."

Sandoval has done just about everything at the plate, too, since being called up from Double-A Connecticut on Aug. 13. He led all big league rookies with a .393 batting average in August and has hit safely in 13 of 17 games overall.

Sandoval didn't record a hit Tuesday, but the 22-year-old still found a way to get on base by drawing a career-high three walks. He ended up scoring twice during the Giants' five-run rally.

"He's got better discipline than you'd think because he's aggressive," Bochy said. "But he's still got a pretty good idea of the strike zone at his age. And I think it's respect, too, from those who have seen him."

Sandoval was one of a slew of young players to start Wednesday. In an effort to continue developing for the future, Bochy also tapped Travis Ishikawa, Emmanuel Burriss, Eugenio Velez and Nate Schierholtz, along with longtime Minor Leaguer Scott McClain.

"We made this commitment back in the end of July and have pretty much stayed with it," Bochy said. "This isn't any type of Spring Training. This is a chance for them to show what they can do, and it's part of the evaluation process to help us better know where we're at. It's a great opportunity for these guys, and that's how we're looking at it."

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.