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06/14/09 4:12 PM ET

Sandoval nears return to third base

Giants' Uribe to miss a few days with hamstring problem

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval's possible return to third base, health permitting, could ease the Giants' concern over losing Juan Uribe for at least three to four days with a hamstring injury.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday that Sandoval, who moved from third base to first after straining his elbow in late May, recently has tested his throwing arm in pregame workouts. Bochy indicated that Sandoval is just about ready to throw across the diamond again, which is convenient for the Giants given Uribe's playing status.

"He's getting it stretched out," Bochy said, referring to Sandoval's throwing arm.

On Sunday, Sandoval remained at first base while Rich Aurilia started at third. Uribe's absence could mean more at-bats for Aurilia, either at first base (if Sandoval goes to third) or at third (if the "Panda" remains at first). Bochy said that first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who has started one game and has just four at-bats since Sandoval began occupying first, also might get more activity.

Uribe, who hurt himself scoring from second base on Nate Schierholtz's single in Saturday's seventh inning, was hitting .303 (23-for-76) in 21 starts since becoming a regular at third.

In an unrelated personnel decision, Bochy rested center fielder Aaron Rowand, who appeared in 59 of San Francisco's first 61 games and started 56 of them. Entering Sunday, Rowand had not received a complete day off since April 22, the season's 14th game, and had started 23 consecutive games. Bochy said that he was still mindful of giving Rowand occasional breaks to preserve the leadoff hitter's stamina. Bochy believes that he overused Rowand in last year's first half, at least partly accounting for the veteran's second-half dropoff.

"[Rowand] is going to get his [rest] because you've got to keep these guys fresh in July, August and September," Bochy said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.