Injury problems may be behind Sandoval's struggles

Injury problems may be behind Sandoval's struggles

CHICAGO -- The Giants' success has obscured Pablo Sandoval's lack of production.

Expected to provide power, Sandoval owned eight home runs in 329 plate appearances entering Sunday, compared to 23 homers in 466 plate appearances last year. He hadn't homered since July 8 at Pittsburgh off A.J. Burnett.

Of course, Sandoval shouldn't be singled out. The Giants entered their series finale against the Chicago Cubs with 81 homers, safely ranking last in the Major Leagues.

Manager Bruce Bochy attributed Sandoval's diminished pop to his injuries. His fractured left hamate bone and a strained left hamstring forced him to miss a total of 53 games, disrupting his continuity. "His timing was off a little bit," Bochy said.

Bochy indicated that Sandoval's weight, a perpetual issue, could be affecting his hitting. Without citing a specific figure, Bochy said that the Giants are "happy" with Sandoval's weight, but added, "I won't lie to you. We'd like to get him down a little bit."

Bochy said that Sandoval's weight "is something he's been battling," adding, "He showed last year he's a different hitter when his weight is down."

Sandoval hit .315 with a .552 slugging percentage and a .909 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) a year ago, compared with corresponding figures of .281, .444 and .778 entering Sunday.