Relief pitcher Pablo Sandoval could also see playing time at second base


SAN FRANCISCO — Internally, the Giants have always compared Miguel Gomez to Pablo Sandoval. Gomez is a switch-hitter with an aggressive approach and talent for barreling up any kind of pitch. 

But on Saturday morning, the comparison between the two was a much different one. Gomez will start at second base against Jon Gray and hit seventh, but Sandoval nearly made his first appearance there. Sandoval has taken grounders at second base this week and the staff discussed starting him Saturday. He very nearly was the choice. 

Yes, the emergency catcher and emergency pitcher is now also the emergency second baseman.

Sandoval did about 20 minutes of work with coaches Ron Wotus and Jose Alquacil on Saturday and looked smooth while turning two. The issue, Wotus said, is all the things that can happen during a game. He spent some time showing Sandoval the proper spots on cutoff throws and relay plays, and that would be what holds him back for now. But Sandoval is athletic enough to handle the rest of the position, especially in an age where the Giants shift heavily and count on Brandon Crawford to cover extra ground. 

If Sandoval is to play second, it likely will need to be in the next two weeks. Joe Panik is well ahead of schedule and should return to the team by the first week of June. Alen Hanson could be back in about 10 days. 

But for now, the Giants are down to Kelby Tomlinson — who is 6 for his last 31 — and Gomez, who is a talented hitter but is considered a liability with the glove. Enter Sandoval, who has a .757 OPS in backup duty. 

Second base would be a new one for him, but hey, he already pitched this year and that went pretty well… 

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