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Sandoval drops a spot in the lineup

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SAN DIEGO -- Dropping third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the batting order proved to be easier said than done for manager Bruce Bochy, whose struggling third baseman descended all the way from third in the order to fourth for Friday night's series opener against the Padres. With Buster Posey and Michael Morse being rested, Bochy needed a formidable presence in the middle of the order. That turned out to be Sandoval, who is the only Giant besides right fielder Hunter Pence to start all 17 games. Sandoval hit third in each of his previous 16 starts except for April 3 at Arizona, where he batted cleanup.

After the Giants fell Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, Bochy mentioned the possibility of moving Sandoval to a lower spot in the order to relieve him of self-imposed pressure. Sandoval began Friday hitting .175 with two homers and six RBIs. That included a 1-for-11 tailspin with runners in scoring position.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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