LOS ANGELES – Pablo Sandoval appeared to clench his hand repeatedly and shake his right arm after bouncing a throw to first base on Monday.
But he remained in the game and insisted that the irritated nerve in his right elbow didn’t bother him in the slightest on Opening Day.
It certainly didn’t affect his right-handed swing; despite just two at-bats in the past two weeks, he managed to get a pair of the Giants’ four hits against Clayton Kershaw in a 4-0 loss at Dodger Stadium.
“Lucky,” Sandoval said, smiling. “I was concentrating on getting ready for the season. I’m getting there. I have to get in the rhythm of the game to throw to third base. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Sandoval made three throws to first base without any apparent issues, although he had to hustle when he fielded Matt Kemp’s slow roller in the sixth inning. Sandoval geared up and then fired a ball that took a long bounce off the grass to first baseman Brandon Belt.
After that, he clenched and unclenched his hand. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he didn’t notice Sandoval in any obvious discomfort.
“I rely on the trainers,” Bochy said. “I’ve got to watch the game. I can’t watch him all the time. They’ll let me know if something’s bothering him.”
Although Bochy described Sandoval as “day to day” for the first week of the season, the big third baseman said he considered himself ready to go. The elbow only bothered him swinging left-handed over the weekend, he said. But if the Dodgers had gone to a right-handed reliever, he said, “I’m going to hit. I’m not going to come out of the game.”
We’ll see over the next week. If there’s one thing you can’t hide in baseball, it’s a third baseman with a sore throwing elbow.
For now, at least, we know this much: However he’s feeling and whatever the scale reads when he steps on it, Sandoval can still hit.
George Kontos described his first-pitch fastball to Kershaw as “a two-seamer that ran up and flattened out. He’s a strong guy and he put a good swing on it.”
It’s hard to fault Kontos. He pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and did what you’re supposed to do with an opposing pitcher who owned one extra-base hit (a double) in 300-plus career plate appearances.
Posey said Kershaw “was all in. He made up his mind he was swinging.”
Kontos was disappointed, but not disconsolate. That’s a good sign for a reliever when he takes the loss on Opening Day.
“It’s an experience I definitely will never forget,” Kontos said. “I’m very fortunate to be a part of it. I just wish the outcome had been better.”
I asked Posey if he noticed the boos were a bit louder at Dodger Stadium now that he’s the NL MVP.
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “Did you?”
Well, yes I did. And I recalled another certain former Giants MVP called being booed at Dodger Stadium the ultimate sign of respect.
Marco Scutaro’s hitting streak is soooo 2012. He carried a 20-game streak into Monday, and yes, they carry over. But he was facing the wrong pitcher. Scutaro went 0 for 4.
Hey, the Giants were just 0 for 1 with runners in scoring position. They only left three runners on base. That’s efficient, right?
Brandon Belt had to get intravenous fluids after spending most of the night tossing his breadsticks. This is not the kind of publicity that Olive Garden needs.
It was a Cy Young kind of day, the Dodgers noted on their game sheet. Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Don Newcombe, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke were in the house.
[BAGGARLY: Kershaw soaks Giants on Opening Day]
They forgot two others: Anyone remember Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito?
Stuck in a long line of cars to get into the main gate at Dodger Stadium this morning, I glanced into my rear-view mirror and saw none other than Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow in the vehicle behind me. Jon Miller and Dave Flemming were riding in the back seat. I made sure to give them a special greeting.
Then they swerve out alongside me, and Kuiper said, "You're about to see Mike Krukow at his best."
Said Krukow, in his best Belushi/Animal House voice: "FOOOORWARD!"
Off they went down the wrong way of the street (with no oncoming traffic, I should note.) I thought about riding on their bumper for a moment. But if I had that kind of clout, I'd have free solar panels on my roof, too!