SAN FRANCISCO -- Second baseman Freddy Sanchez has encountered yet another physical obstacle in his attempt to return to the Giants' active lineup: a sore lower back.

Manager Bruce Bochy announced the latest "minor setback" for Sanchez, whom he said was likely to undergo an MRI examination perhaps later Monday to determine the extent of the ailment. Bochy did not say when Sanchez might resume participating in extended spring training games.

Bochy said that Sanchez's back actually was bothering him when he checked on the 34-year-old's progress late last week at the Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training complex.

"It ended up getting worse," Bochy said.

Sanchez has been striving to complete his recovery from a dislocated right shoulder that required surgery last August. He hasn't played in a regular-season game since he sustained the injury June 10 against Cincinnati. Sanchez's weakened shoulder has prevented him from making the strenuous, cross-body throws on double-play pivots at second base. In an attempted recent adjustment, Sanchez started playing third base in extended spring games in the hopes of playing more frequently and avoiding the pivot throw.

Sandoval set to get stitches out of hand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was due to have stitches removed from his surgically repaired left hand Monday.

Sandoval went on the 15-day disabled list May 3 with a fractured left hamate bone and underwent surgery the next day. With the bone's broken portion removed and the wound sealed, Sandoval should be able to perform an increasing number of baseball-related activities, manager Bruce Bochy said. Sandoval already has begun throwing, with his right hand.

Asked whether Sandoval was ahead of schedule in his recovery, which was expected to require four to six weeks, Bochy replied, "It's hard to say. I probably can answer that question better in a couple of weeks."

Despite missing 10 games entering Monday, Sandoval still leads the team with five home runs and 15 RBIs, complemented by his .316 batting average.

Worth noting

• Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt called the brace that he's wearing on his recovered right knee "basically preventative." Affeldt, who sprained the knee April 28 while affectionately trying to hoist his son, was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday and pitched a scoreless inning at Arizona. Affeldt noted that because his legs sometimes hyperextend to bend in the opposite direction, the brace actually could help prevent this from occurring.

• Right-hander Shane Loux might still be in Triple-A if he hadn't switched from starting to relieving toward the end of Spring Training, at the behest of pitching coach Dave Righetti.

"When you're dealing with the people who brought along guys like Madison [Bumgarner], Timmy [Lincecum] and Matt [Cain], you're not going to argue with them," said Loux, who was primarily a starter in 15 professional seasons.

Loux, who has accumulated barely more than a year of Major League service time, correctly reasoned that most personnel moves relating to the pitching staff involve relievers. His training regimen, which he said he "stepped up 20-fold" in recent years, enabled him to make the transition from the rotation to the bullpen quickly.

• The Giants were hoping to record their 100th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park in Monday night's series opener against Colorado. "It's off the charts, what the fans have done," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I know it. And believe me, the players know it."