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Coach Panda? Duggar has a tutor in Sandoval

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants don't list Pablo Sandoval as an assistant batting coach. But he has provided analysis and instruction for fellow hitters, particularly with rookie center fielder Steven Duggar.

A left-handed batter, Duggar quickly realized that he and the switch-hitting Sandoval have a similar "load" when the latter hits left-handed. That is, they coil their bodies and set up their swing in similar ways.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants don't list Pablo Sandoval as an assistant batting coach. But he has provided analysis and instruction for fellow hitters, particularly with rookie center fielder Steven Duggar.

A left-handed batter, Duggar quickly realized that he and the switch-hitting Sandoval have a similar "load" when the latter hits left-handed. That is, they coil their bodies and set up their swing in similar ways.

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Thus, Sandoval has been able to monitor Duggar and tell him when he's opening his front shoulder too much or striding too quickly.

"He's young, but he's smart," Sandoval said. "He likes to do the things that will make him better."

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Duggar, the Giants' No. 3 prospect and a legitimate candidate for the starting center-field job, added that watching left-handed swingers such as Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik also has helped.

"I'm just trying to pick up on little things they're doing and trying to implement things in my timing," Duggar said.

Until now, Sandoval had shown little inclination to coach, officially or otherwise. But his 10 years in the Majors have sharpened his knowledge and perspective.

"I want to win," Sandoval said. "I want all of my teammates to hit .300 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs."

Video: TEX@SF: Cueto strikes out Lopes in spring debut

Cueto paces himself
Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto made no excuses for yielding Delino DeShields' leadoff double and Shin-Soo Choo's subsequent home run to open San Francisco's 9-4 split-squad victory over Texas. It was Cueto's first start of the Cactus League season.

"It's not the air," Cueto said through translator Erwin Higueros, citing a well-worn Cactus League explanation for wayward pitches. "I was just trying to throw the back-door cutter, and it just stayed there, floating. That's what I need to work on."

Injury update
Crawford (jammed right thumb) soon should be able to resume playing shortstop. Crawford was 1-for-3 with an RBI as DH against Texas.

Up next
The Giants entertain the National League champion Dodgers at 12:05 p.m. PT on Sunday for the only time this spring. San Francisco routed its NL West rival, 9-3, when they met Feb. 24 in Glendale. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start for the Giants, and the matchup will be available on MLB.TV.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Steven Duggar, Pablo Sandoval