Giants counting on rested Sandoval

Giants counting on rested Sandoval

CINCINNATI -- Pablo Sandoval's only 23 years old, but even he's not immune to wear and tear.

For the first time since July 5, Giants manager Bruce Bochy's lineup card Wednesday did not include Sandoval.

"I'm convinced that he could use a day [off]," Bochy said.

Sandoval has endured some bumps and bruises lately. Sunday at New York, he took a shot to the ribs as he collided with the railing bordering the grandstand as he pursued a foul ball. Tuesday, Sandoval fouled a pitch off one of his calves.

Bochy wasn't just trying to ease Sandoval's pain. Last week, he said that the third baseman would get a break sometime during the Cincinnati series.

Sandoval is virtually certain to play Thursday when the Giants and Reds conclude their three-game series. Catcher Bengie Molina is likely to rest, and Bochy explained that he doesn't want to have both of the team's biggest bats on the bench in the same game.

Sandoval struck out three times Tuesday for the first time in his career. But he salvaged his evening with a 10th-inning leadoff single that launched San Francisco's winning three-run rally.

The Giants hope that Sandoval can come back strong. He has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 road games, batting .396 (19-for-48) in that span with six doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs.

Entering Wednesday, Sandoval ranked second in the National League with a .327 average overall and ranked among the top 10 in hits, doubles, total bases and multiple-hit games.

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