Brandon Belt

Replay also overturns Pablo Sandoval’s injury claim (plus a brief game recap)

After last night’s game, Pablo Sandoval said he would’ve had a better chance of catching Ehire Adrianza’s relay throw during the game’s final play if Starling Marte’s foot didn’t accidentally make contact with his glove hand. No one really thought much of it at the time, partly because all the replays focused on the play at the plate, not the play at third.

Via SF Gate:

The Giants have a true Wednesday mid-trip getaway-day lineup today, with Angel Pagan, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval off. The Pagan and Posey days off were planned, but Sandoval’s was not. He got his left thumb bent backwards when Starling Marte inadvertently kicked his glove sliding into third on the fateful and final play of Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss.

Sandoval walked into the clubhouse wearing a protective brace on the hand.

The question is, how long will Sandoval sit?

The answer: until the fifth inning, when Sandoval pinch-hit for Tim Lincecum (who gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks in today’s 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh) and smacked a first-pitch single to right.

CSN Bay Area showed a replay from a new angle: behind third base.

“This is the injury to Sandoval last night,” Krukow said. “Watch the glove hand get kicked.”

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 1

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 2

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 3

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 4

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 6

Pablo Sandoval Starling Marte 7

(long pause)

“And … he jammed his thumb. Maybe it was the ground that jammed his thumb, not the kick.”

They showed the same replay about a minute later.

“Let’s see exactly where the contact was made,” said Krukow. “It was the ball that hit the side of his glove. So it was not the foot of Marte.”

I’m not sure the ball hit Sandoval’s glove either (Adrianza’s throw wasn’t all that accurate, and Sandoval wasn’t in great position). The entire situation is strange. Sandoval either got clipped by Marte in the second photo (although it didn’t appear that his progress was impeded by contact of any kind), got clipped in photo No. 4, or got confused because everything happened so quickly. And the Giants took less than half of one game to give him an at-bat, even though he was wearing a brace on his hand. I’m not saying he wasn’t hurt — Sandoval could’ve jammed his thumb on the dive. Since he hit from the left side today, the injury affected his top hand (which doesn’t absorb nearly as much of the stress from a baseball swing).

I’ve wondered for a couple weeks if the Giants were hoping Sandoval — no stranger to the DL — would suffer a relatively minor injury that kept him out a couple weeks. They can’t really bench him at this point, not with Joaquin Arias batting and slugging .163. Also, Sandoval probably wouldn’t be a happy camper if he got the Brandon Belt treatment (a three-day mental break when physically healthy) during his contract year. If Sandoval started with a mega-slump like this in previous years, Bruce Bochy probably would’ve kept him out of the lineup at least a few times more than he has this season.

This is a much more delicate situation. Plus, the Giants are getting by fine without Sandoval’s standard offensive contributions for the most part, and his defense has been fine. Still, going from wearing a brace to hitting in such a short period of time sure seems strange, especially in light of Sandoval’s postgame comments last night.

Extra BASGs

— The ninth inning was quick and painful, with three consecutive flyouts and Buster Posey on deck when the last out was made.

— Brandon Hicks is hitting .198 and all three of the team’s second basemen now at or below the Mendoza Line. If the Giants lose three of four in Los Angeles and the Giants get little to no production from that position, people are going to start getting antsy by the time the next “Marco Monday” rolls around.

— Lincecum just isn’t much fun to watch anymore. His mechanics are inconsistent, he’s ridiculously hittable, and he’s leading the majors in pitches per inning (18). His personality is great, he wore an awesome disguise the other day, and he might figure things out and become a serviceable fourth starter this season. But there’s something difficult about watching a former superstar pitch like Barry Zito.

— Four more scoreless innings from the bullpen — two each from George Kontos (he’s back!) and Juan Gutierrez.

— Brandon Belt drove in all three runs with a solo homer (he leads the team in home runs again with nine, which means Michael Morse will probably hit one tomorrow) and a two-run double.

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