SAN FRANCISCO -- Seemingly every time Giants manager Bruce Bochy fields a question about Pablo Sandoval's recovery, he reports the third baseman's considerable progress. The good news kept rolling in on Sunday.Bochy said Sandoval (fractured hamate bone) is fielding ground balls, throwing and taking some light swings from both sides with the fungo bat, and he is on pace to return in about two weeks. "I think he could play in a game -- maybe a little sooner, maybe a little later -- but two weeks is what I'd put it at right now," Bochy said. "He's on a fast pace now. Every day it's just better and better. He says it's a little sore, but he can feel the strength coming back every day, and that increases the things he can do on the baseball field. He could be playing for us in two weeks. It's just hard to say right now." In 83 at-bats this season, Sandoval led the Giants in batting average (.313), slugging percentage (.530), on-base percentage and home runs (five -- tied with Pat Burrell). His potent bat would provide a boost to a San Francisco lineup that has at times struggled to consistently put runs on the board, and his presence at the hot corner would help solidify the infield with utility man Mark DeRosa (partially torn wrist tendon) on the disabled list. Sandoval has been a bundle of energy before every game at AT&T Park, bouncing around the infield less than a month after fracturing the bone in his right hand. Bochy attributed his energy and work ethic to the results Sandoval saw from his offseason training program, which helped him lose about 40 pounds. "I think he saw the benefit. I think he liked the way he looked, the way he feels with the loss of the added weight. He's continued to work hard," Bochy said. "It's hard to continue doing what he was doing in the offseason without killing himself, but he's maintaining it well. It's all about habits now. He's got much better eating habits. His routine every day, coming out here and working out, it's going to pay off in the long run, and he knows it."
Posey is fine after getting bell rung
SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games with a third-inning single to left field on Sunday, but the second-year catcher received more attention after the Giants' 5-4 win for what happened to him behind the plate.Posey took a hit to the jaw on a foul tip by Gio Gonzalez in the top of the second and needed a moment to make sure he was good to keep playing.
"It jarred him pretty good," manager Bruce Bochy said.Posey said he felt fine, although his jaw was a little sore, and he wouldn't have stayed in the game had it been something worse. Bochy said he didn't think Posey would undergo any X-rays. "It seems like you kind of go through periods where you get beat up," Posey said. Posey added that he would consider making the transition to the more conventional catcher's mask instead of the hockey-style mask he currently uses, which Bochy said clings a little closer to the catcher's head and provides a little more security on the side. However, both said the move would not occur until Spring Training next year, and they agreed there was no guarantee that one mask does a better job protecting catchers than the other. "There's no proof that there's a difference in the mask, but he's getting enough shots there that are hitting him pretty good that I've got concern," Bochy said. "He's taken more than I've ever seen. I think part of it is our staff with the stuff they have. They miss pitches and foul tip them back, which is why he's taken so many."
Giants rising to occasion
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the Giants wrapping up a stretch of facing five top-notch starters in as many days, manager Bruce Bochy took some time Sunday to praise his entire pitching staff and commend his hitters' ability to scratch together enough runs to win.San Francisco faced Dodgers hurlers Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley in Los Angeles before returning to AT&T Park, where the Giants went up against A's starters Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson. Thanks to quality performances from the starters, some help from the bullpen and a little timely hitting, San Francisco has a chance to extend its winning streak to five games Sunday against another tough draw, Oakland left-hander Gio Gonzalez. "I couldn't be happier with the way these guys have battled and found a way to get some runs for our staff going against the pitching we're seeing and guys who have been very tough on us," Bochy said. "Right now we're starting to swing the bats better, but until we get this offense clicking, it's going to be vital for us to have the pitchers throwing the ball the way they are. "We're doing some little things well. That's what you've got to do when you're facing good pitching, and the guys are getting it done." It would be hard for Bochy to ask much more of his pitchers. The Giants have combined to allow just two runs (one earned) in their last 29 innings pitched, didn't allow an earned run in their first two games against Oakland and rank third in the National League with a 3.16 ERA behind the Phillies (3.03) and Braves (3.04). The starters have given up three earned runs or fewer in each of their last 14 games, accumulating a 2.05 ERA over that stretch. They have received key contributions from every member of the staff -- from ace Tim Lincecum's gem on Saturday to Ryan Vogelsong's surprising dominance (2-0, 16 strikeouts, no earned runs in his last three starts). When asked if he felt like his pitchers have stepped their games up a notch due to the talented hurlers they're going up against, Bochy responded quickly. "They have, which we needed because we're facing good pitching," he said. "That's what we're built around."
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.