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Bochy doesn't want Pablo distracted by contract

Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval is off to a rough start this season for the Giants, both at the plate and in the field.

The talented third baseman has been under the microscope this year as he begins the final season of his contract, and he's been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately. Sandoval committed a crucial throwing error on Thursday. And after another error on Friday, he was eventually replaced by Joaquin Arias as a late defensive sub.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval is off to a rough start this season for the Giants, both at the plate and in the field.

The talented third baseman has been under the microscope this year as he begins the final season of his contract, and he's been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately. Sandoval committed a crucial throwing error on Thursday. And after another error on Friday, he was eventually replaced by Joaquin Arias as a late defensive sub.

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So does manager Bruce Bochy think Sandoval's contract situation is a distraction?

"It can be," Bochy said. "He's the only one who can answer that I guess, if it's on his mind. The one thing you don't want Pablo to do is to get away from playing the game the way he normally plays it -- with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. Thinking about the contract, it can be a distraction. He assured me it's not."

Sandoval entered play on Saturday batting .143/.265/.238 with one homer and four RBIs, one less than the five RBIs pitcher Madison Bumgarner recorded in two at-bats on Friday. Going forward, Bochy said he could continue to use Arias as a late-inning defensive sub, saying, "It's more of a credit to Joaquin."

As for his star at the hot corner, Bochy said he hopes getting into the rhythm of the season will be the medicine Sandoval needs to get back to being a major offensive and defensive contributor.

"I certainly hope so," Bochy said. "He's got to keep his focus here."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval