Giants ponder letting Panda hit before surgery

August 30th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- is scheduled to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow next week, but there’s still a chance that he could get at least one more at-bat with the Giants before then.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the switch-hitting infielder could come off the injured list and hit from the left side if he receives clearance from the club’s medical staff. Sandoval, who hasn’t played since making a pinch-hit appearance against the Phillies on Aug. 9, is expected to resume hitting in the next couple of days to see how his body responds.

“It’s a possibility,” Bochy said Thursday. “For that to happen, though, he’s going to have to take some swings and pass some tests. I’m not going to put him out there without him taking any swings.”

The Giants could target Sunday for a potential Sandoval return, as it would allow them to give him one more at-bat at Oracle Park before they depart to St. Louis for their penultimate road trip of the season. Sunday also marks the beginning of September callups, eliminating concerns about a potential roster crunch.

Sandoval will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season. Although he has said he would love to stay with the Giants, a return to San Francisco is far from guaranteed. Bochy would love to give Sandoval a proper sendoff, but he sees the benefits of sending Sandoval to the plate one last time as more than ceremonial.

“He’d be a nice weapon to have,” Bochy said. “That’s a pretty good hitter coming off the bench. If he’s able to do it, he’s shown that he can swing the bat for a couple of days, I’m good with it. But like I said, we’ve got to get him to pass some tests here.”

Posey dropped to No. 5 spot

Bochy has maintained his faith in , even as his longtime catcher has struggled to deliver the consistent production that he has in the past. But the manager made a notable tweak to his lineup Thursday, dropping Posey to the fifth spot in the order. It’s the lowest Posey has hit as a starter this season.

“Sometimes you change things up a little bit just for a change of scenery,” Bochy said. “It’s still in the heart of the order.”

Posey, who entered Thursday batting .246 with a career-low .680 OPS, assured Bochy that he is fine with being moved down in the lineup.

“He said to me the other day, ‘Don’t ever hesitate. If you think you need to move me, move me,’” Bochy said. “He’s good with it. He still has a knack for getting on base and doing some good things. These are the guys we’ll win with. You’ve got to lean on them and stay behind them. It’s an unselfish group.”