Healthier Sandoval hits first homer of spring

March 7th, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When made his Cactus League debut on Saturday, he swung exclusively left-handed to protect a bit of soreness on his right side. That discomfort has largely dissipated, as evidenced by Sandoval’s first home run of the spring in the Giants’ 12-5 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

Batting right-handed, Sandoval crushed a 1-1 pitch from Texas left-hander Yohander Mendez to left field for a solo shot in the fifth inning. The 32-year-old infielder is now 1-for-6 over his first three Cactus League games.

“He’s got to be a little rusty still,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He hasn’t had that many at-bats, particularly from the right side, because that’s where we had to back him off. He hit it well. That’s out anywhere. He’s back, he just needs playing time right now.”

Sandoval wasn’t the only Giant to go deep, as also homered to right field off Mendez in the sixth. Parra, who signed a Minor League deal with the Giants last month, has enjoyed a strong start with his new club, going 6-for-16 with two homers and three RBIs through his first seven Cactus League games.

Stratton’s day
Right-hander gave up three runs over two-plus innings in his third start of the spring, raising his Cactus League ERA to 7.50 over six innings. He walked none and struck out three, including former Giants teammate Hunter Pence on a sharp curveball in the second inning.

“It was definitely weird seeing him on the other side,” Stratton said of Pence. “I was trying to think back to if I had faced him in live BP, but I’m not sure if I have. He swings just as hard as I thought he would.”

While he was pleased with his breaking ball, Stratton had trouble commanding his fastball and frequently fell behind in the count. The 28-year-old is in the middle of a key spring, as he is out of options and trying to win a job as a starter or long reliever.

“Everybody knows when they’re out of options, and I know I don’t have any,” Stratton said. “I just want to come out here and do my best and give this team the best chance to win.”

The rest of the Giants’ pitching staff didn’t fare much better. Relievers Steven Okert, Ty Blach and Kieran Lovegrove were charged with one earned run apiece, Ray Black allowed three unearned runs and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte surrendered a three-run home run to Carlos Tocci in the sixth. Rule 5 Draft pick Travis Bergen stumbled into a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth, but he emerged unscathed after striking out former Giant Chase d’Arnaud looking.

“Not a good day for us, I’ll be honest,” Bochy said. “Sloppy all around. We didn’t command the strike zone very well at all. The pitchers had a hard time getting in favorable counts, and when we did, we left some offspeed pitches up.”

Latest cuts
Right-hander Sam Wolff and left-handers Conner Menez and Garrett Williams were reassigned to Minor League camp following Monday’s game. The Giants have 65 players remaining in big league camp.

Up next
Ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner will make his third exhibition start on Thursday when the Giants host the A’s at 6:05 p.m. PT at Scottsdale Stadium. Right-hander Frankie Montas is slated to pitch for Oakland.