Sandoval ties Mays with hit in first 16 games
Slugger matches great's franchise record with homer in Game 2
NEW YORK -- Pablo Sandoval has always been a strong early-season hitter. But he's never been this hot before.
San Francisco's third baseman extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI single in his first at-bat during Monday's doubleheader against the Mets. Sandoval then tied the great Willie Mays for an impressive franchise record with a first-inning homer in the twin-bill nightcap.
Mays went 16 straight games with a hit to start the 1960 season. No San Francisco player has been able to match that streak until now. Sandoval went into Monday's action as a .331 career hitter (99-for-299) in April, a mark that bears a pretty close resemblance to his average (.333) so far this season.
But if you ask him what's going right for him, Sandoval will tell you it's just business as usual.
"I just try to help my team out there, try to do my best," he said. "I'm having fun. And I think it's one of those things: When you're having fun every day, you're going to have some success."
Sandoval is a career .268 hitter in May, and he followed the same torrid pattern last year. He hit .313 in April and missed May with an injury, but then came back to hit .269 in June. Sandoval said that he doesn't know any reason for that trend and that he hopes to stay consistent.
"I'm just going out there and playing my game early in the season. We'll see what happens at the end of the season," he said. "I'm prepared, and when you prepare all Spring Training, you're ready."
Sandoval's current streak is the longest in the Majors, and he's been one of the Giants' biggest threats at the plate. Sandoval has notched an RBI in 10 of his team's first 16 games, and manager Bruce Bochy said that he likes what he's seen from his No. 3 hitter.
"He's showing more discipline at the plate. He's coming off a good year," Bochy said. "He's really swinging the bat the way he did last year, but maybe even a little more patient. He's doing a good job."
Giants hoping to get F. Sanchez on track
NEW YORK -- Weather permitting, veteran infielder Freddy Sanchez will make a major step forward in his recovery from a dislocated right shoulder on Monday.
Sanchez is scheduled to begin an injury rehab assignment with Class A San Jose. The three-time All-Star hasn't played since last June.
Sanchez injured himself last season while diving for a grounder up the middle, and he underwent surgery last August to correct the problem. Now, the Giants are hoping that Sanchez can prove he's healthy over the next few weeks before they activate him from the disabled list.
"He actually starts [Monday]," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We're probably looking at closer to 20 days. But again, he'll dictate when we bring him up here [and] when we think he's ready. Hopefully it all goes well, no hiccups with his rehab. We have him mapped out for 18 days."
Emmanuel Burriss and Ryan Theriot have split time at second base with Sanchez on the shelf, and Bochy said the Giants want to make sure the 34-year-old can handle the position.
"We need to make sure he's able to throw the ball and turn two," he said. "But he needs at-bats too."
Bochy has some options for doubleheader
NEW YORK -- The Giants will do their best to manage their roster around Monday's doubleheader, and manager Bruce Bochy said that he will attempt to use as many of his players as possible.
Bochy said that he will start outfielder Gregor Blanco in the second half of Monday's doubleheader, and he also said that catcher Buster Posey will only start the first game. San Francisco's two starting pitchers -- Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner -- will be primed to go again this weekend.
"We'll see how this one goes, but there's some guys I want to get out there," Bochy said. "I don't know how washed out [Ryan] Theriot is, but there's a chance we could use him off the bench in both games. ... Ideally, you'd like to get all the guys in there. I know [Hector] Sanchez will be catching Bumgarner."
The doubleheader means that San Francisco will likely need to make a roster move for Friday's game against San Diego. Both Lincecum and Bumgarner would be on short rest to start that game on Friday, and the Giants may have to find a contingency plan off the roster at Triple-A Fresno.
Luke Hacker, who is 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA for Fresno, could be an option.
"Hacker's throwing the ball well. We'll address it once we get through [Monday]," Bochy said. "We'll see how we get through this and where we're at Friday. We'll talk about it after [Monday's] games."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.