Giants working to help Sandoval end slump

Giants working to help Sandoval end slump

Giants working to help Sandoval end slump
DENVER -- Pablo Sandoval has been one of the more productive bats in the middle of the Giants lineup over the last few years, boasting a .303 average in parts of five big league seasons.

He started the season on a tear, hitting .316 though May 2, when he went on the disabled list with a left hamate fracture. He returned to action in June, but slipped to .299 by July 24 and went back on the DL with a left hamstring strain. Since returning in August, he's gone 22-for-95 (.232) with three extra-base hits in 26 games and no homers in his last 35 games and 138 at-bats entering Tuesday.

"It's been a rough time for me, because I was out for two months with injuries," Sandoval said before Tuesday's second of three games with the Rockies. "It's tough when you start getting your rhythm and then you're out, getting back. It's a tough year. You have to keep your mindset, keep working hard, do your things out there."

Manager Bruce Bochy remains adamant about keeping Sandoval in the three-hole, where he'd been for 51 of his 88 starts through Tuesday.

"Pablo's a tough guy," Bochy said. "He wants to do something when he's up there. Sometimes you try a little too hard and start overswinging trying to hit it too far. He's got to shorten everything up -- including stride -- and keep his balance."

Bochy, hitting coach Hensley Meulens and senior advisor Joe Lefebvre talked with Sandoval following his 0-for-5 night at the plate in Monday's series opener, when he notably stranded the potential tying and winning run on second and third in the eighth inning as he popped to left to end a rally. With Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro consistently setting the table in front of him, Sandoval may be taking an overly aggressive approach at the plate.

"He gets a little anxious," Bochy observed, noting that there's nothing wrong with his swing or his power in batting practice. "He really just does it when [Pagan and Scutaro] are on base. I'm sure that has something to do with it."

Bochy and his coaching staff showed Sandoval video of his approach at the plate when he was going well, and Sandoval immediately recognized the differences, staying up late into the night to study the video.

"I went back to my room to see all the things I've been doing great last year -- hitting, doing defense, all that," Sandoval said. "I was doing that all night, I couldn't even go to sleep. Especially because [I stranded] a couple more runs [last night], and we lost the game because of that. That made me keep my mind in shape and refresh all the things I've been doing."