SAN FRANCISCO -- Back in the Giants clubhouse during a rainy afternoon in the Bay Area, Pablo Sandoval laughed as he gave reporters an honest, one-word critique of how he felt at the plate in his first rehab game with High-A San Jose: "Lost."
Sandoval went 0-for-3 with two groundouts and a strikeout Friday night for the San Jose Giants and said his timing as a hitter was way off, but he felt fine physically other than a sore right forearm, which was simply a product of not putting the muscles to work recently, and had no trouble defensively at third base.
Sandoval only hit left-handed with no problems or pain as he approaches the end of his recovery from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his right hand. He was originally scheduled to return to San Jose on Saturday night for his second rehab game, but wet weather scuttled that plan. He'll instead play the first game of Triple-A Fresno's doubleheader Sunday.
As of Saturday afternoon, the plan for Sandoval's rehab assignment remained the same: five games with about 20 to 30 at-bats. However, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, they will continue to evaluate Sandoval on a day-to-day basis. If Sandoval is ready after the designated time period, he will rejoin the Giants. If not, he'll continue his rehab assignment.
"What we'd like to stay away from, and sometimes you don't have that option, is to bring him back too early [so] that they're trying to find their way and their timing up here," Bochy said.
Sandoval's 0-for-3 showing just so happened to come amid an offensive explosion for the San Jose Giants, as every other hitter in their lineup recorded a hit and they scored 13 runs on 20 hits. Sandoval was highly complimentary of the High-A club, and Bochy joked about what that meant for Sandoval's future rehab starts.
"He's killing 'em," Bochy said before the decision to keep Sandoval out Saturday night. "He may not crack the lineup tonight."
Giants relish having Burriss' versatility
SAN FRANCISCO -- Listening to Giants manager Bruce Bochy describe everything Emmanuel Burriss can do on the field or at the plate, it seems the only things not within the switch-hitting utility man's range are pitching and catching.
Burriss has continued to play the "super sub" role for the Giants this season, seeing time at every infield position and in left field. Entering Saturday, the 26-year-old was also batting .333 in 39 at-bats this season, driving in two runs and stealing four bases in six attempts. Burriss started at third base Friday to spell Miguel Tejada, and he was in the two-hole once again Saturday, this time as the starting second baseman.
"He really could be a super sub. He's doing it right now," Bochy said after Friday's game, in which Burriss went 3-for-4. "He played first base in St. Louis. He hasn't played third base, and I thought he looked fine there [Friday]. He gives you speed. It's so valuable to have a guy who can move around and play shortstop, which he can do. He can also go out in the outfield. He's a switch-hitter. He's very valuable."
Shortstop Brandon Crawford said Friday that Burriss' speed also benefits the rest of the team's hitters, as his mere presence on the basepaths distracts opposing pitchers. Burriss' versatility has proven even more valuable coming off the bench, as his ability to play anywhere on the field frees up Bochy to pinch-run him whenever the need arises, but that trait has also helped him work his way into the starting lineup eight times (four games at second base, two at third and two at shortstop) as the Giants look to give players the occasional day off.
"Those type of players don't come around very often -- the type of guy you can put anywhere and switch-hit. He should get a lot of time," Bochy said. "It doesn't mean that's going to be his role. Right now it is. It's nice to have a kid like this."
Weary Whiteside gets break behind plate
SAN FRANCISCO -- Eli Whiteside was out of the starting lineup Saturday, as Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the team's No. 1 catcher "definitely" needed a day to rest.
Bochy said the demands of becoming the club's everyday catcher, which Whiteside has done in the wake of Buster Posey's season-ending injury, have taken their toll on Whiteside's body, plus he wanted to keep backup Chris Stewart, who was Triple-A Fresno's everyday catcher, active.
"When you're not used to catching every day, you get a lot of those aches and pains initially until you get in everyday shape," Bochy said. "Stew's been actually doing more catching than Whitey, so we want to keep him active and sharp back there."
Bochy emphasized once again that he was confident in Whiteside as the team's No. 1 catcher going forward, particularly with his ability behind the plate and his comfort level with the club's pitching staff. With the rest of the lineup beginning to show signs of life and consistently putting up runs, that's all the Giants need.
"Without question, sure, that's what we're looking for -- a guy who can handle this staff, and hopefully the other guys can help carry the offense," Bochy said. "Although I think with Whitey, the more playing time he gets, the more production he's going to give us at the plate."
Whiteside is hitting .176 this year with two doubles and a home run, recording more than twice as many strikeouts (17) as walks (eight). Since being called up from Triple-A Fresno following Posey's injury, Stewart has only seen three at-bats, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his only other start.
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.