The already anemic offense of the San Francisco Giants just got much worse. According to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, slugging third baseman Pablo Sandoval is out with a broken bone is his left hand.
CONFIRMED: Pablo Sandoval has fractured his left hamate bone. Last year he missed 6 weeks and 41 games.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) May 3, 2012
UPDATE: Wednesday June 6, 6:20 p.m. ET by Austin Green
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval could be back for Tuesday's game against the Houston Astros.
Bochy said Pablo comes back Tuesday ideally— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) June 6, 2012
This is a promising development for the Giants, who are currently four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
San Francisco has won seven of their last nine games heading into tonight's game in San Diego.
Update: Saturday, June 2 at 5:38 p.m. ET by Jesse Reed
According to Joe Salvatore, via Twitter, Sandoval is beginning his rehab assignment tonight:
Sandoval will DH for SJ Giants tonight #SFGiants— Joe Salvatore (@radiojoee) June 2, 2012
This is terrific news for the Giants and their fans. Obviously, the sooner Sandoval returns the better it will be for the team.
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UPDATE: Saturday, June 2 at 12:10 p.m. ET
According to Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area, Sandoval could return to the field soon following his recovery from a hand injury.
Pablo Sandoval could start a minor league rehab assignment this weekend for Single-A San Jose and he's expected to need four or five games before he'd join the active roster, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants could certainly use Sandoval's bat in the lineup, but it's important that the team doesn't rush him back. He's too important to their success.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 3 at 3:40 p.m. EST
Now we have word about Sandoval's timetable to return, courtesy of Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News.
Surgery tomorrow for Sandoval. Out 4-6 weeks.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 3, 2012
While that is not exactly the best news the Giants could have hoped for, it will give Sandoval plenty of time this season to get back in the swing of things and help the team make a push for the postseason.
Sandoval left Wednesday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins following a swing in a seventh-inning that caused him to feel pain.
According to Andrew Baggarly of Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, Sandoval was already feeling the pain in his hand before Wednesday's game:
Pablo Sandoval tried to play through pain from fractured left hamate the last couple days, I was told. Pain became unbearable yesterday.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) May 3, 2012
Baggarly also reports that the Giants are expected to place Sandoval on the disabled list and play Conor Gillaspie at third base in his absence.
The Giants expect to place Sandoval onDL. Conor Gillaspie is here. Today is 1-year anniversary of surgery on his right hamate, by the way.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) May 3, 2012
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News after the game that he had "a lot of concern" after Sandoval was taken out.
Everyone knows the Giants boast one of the best starting rotations in baseball, but their success or failure this year was going to depend a lot on the health of Sandoval and a returning Buster Posey. Losing Sandoval, who was hitting .316/.375/.537 with five home runs, 15 RBI and 16 runs scored in 24 games this season, is going to be devastating for this team.
The Giants don't have depth in the lineup. Nor is there anyone in the high levels of the minors they can call up who can replace Sandoval's production.
We will have all the latest news and information on Sandoval as it become available, so check back to this page frequently for updates.