06/13/11 2:35 AM ET
Zito, with tweaks, close to being ready
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
Sandoval plays first as return to action nears
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval took his final step toward rejoining the Giants by playing first base Sunday in Triple-A Fresno's 4-0 loss at Salt Lake City.Sandoval will reclaim his role as the Giants' starting third baseman Tuesday, when he's officially activated from the disabled list for the opener of San Francisco's three-game series at Arizona. The Giants signaled that the move was imminent after Sunday's 4-2 victory over Cincinnati, when they optioned third baseman Conor Gillaspie to Triple-A Fresno. But due to a combination of factors, most notably the Giants' lack of a true backup first baseman and Miguel Tejada's recent resurgence as a third baseman, Sandoval's likely to play once or twice a week at first base. Sandoval, who underwent surgery in early May to remove the fractured portion of his hamate bone from his right hand, went 0-for-4 Sunday. He hit .278 (5-for-18) with two home runs and seven RBIs in five games for Fresno on his injury rehabilitation assignment.
During a pregame ceremony, Giants legend Willie McCovey presented a $10,000 check to the family of Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was beaten outside of Dodger Stadium after the March 31 season opener. McCovey's Restaurant in Walnut Creek held a fundraiser for Stow on April 16.
The Giants already have placed 12 players on the disabled list this season, one fewer than all last season.
Intending to give Eli Whiteside a two-day rest, counting Monday's scheduled off-day, manager Bruce Bochy started Chris Stewart at catcher Sunday. Typically, Whiteside catches Jonathan Sanchez. But Bochy wanted to give Whiteside, who's new to catching regularly, an extra breather.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.