Sandoval close to returning to game action

Sandoval close to returning to game action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The latest news regarding switch-hitting third baseman Pablo Sandoval continued to be upbeat.

Head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner reported Wednesday that Sandoval, recovering from an injured right elbow, swung from both sides of the plate and played catch at about a 75-foot distance. Groescher said that Sandoval will be re-evaluated Thursday.

Though Sandoval has not played since March 16, the Giants believe that he can be game-ready for Monday's season opener at Los Angeles, due to the number of at-bats he received late in the Venezuelan Winter League season, early in Spring Training and in the World Baseball Classic.

Manager Bruce Bochy would like to play Sandoval once or twice during the three-game Bay Bridge Series against Oakland. However, if Sandoval were to aggravate his injury against the A's, they could not backdate his disabled-list assignment into March. That's why backup catcher Hector Sanchez is performing in Minor League exhibitions.

"Sure there is," Bochy said of the risk of using Sandoval against Oakland. "But that's a decision we have to make."

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.