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SAN FRANCISCO — In returning to the Giants’ lineup Friday after missing four games with tightness in his right elbow, Pablo Sandoval moved across the diamond from third base to first.
The change made sense, at least from the viewpoint of Sandoval’s care and feeding. He’ll be required to make fewer challenging throws as a first baseman, thus reducing the risk of re-injury.
But, as manager Bruce Bochy said, “If we felt there was a risk, he wouldn’t be out there. He’s comfortable throwing now.”
Bochy also admitted, “Is he 100 percent? Probably not,” adding that Sandoval’s stay at first base “could (last) a while.”
Sandoval leads all Giants regulars in hitting (.304 entering Friday), explaining the club’s eagerness to welcome him back. “We need his bat in the lineup,” Bochy said.
Sandoval’s shift will trim Travis Ishikawa’s playing time at first base. Ishikawa had been surging, going 7-for-11 in his previous three games to raise his average from .219 to .262. Expect Ishikawa, a superior defender to Sandoval, to enter games in the late innings when the Giants are tied or ahead.
Juan Uribe will continue to play third base while Sandoval mans first, a position he played 17 times for the Giants last year.
Right-hander Sergio Romo’s activation from the 15-day disabled list prompted the Giants to option infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Fresno. Frandsen went hitless in 16 at-bats during his six-game stint with the Giants.
“There’s not a lot of playing time for him here right now,” Bochy said. We don’t want him sitting here. It’s not going to help his career.”
Frandsen impressed the Giants with his polished defensive skills at shortstop, a position he’s still learning. “He’s a lot more under control and playing with a lot more confidence,” Bochy said.
Frandsen left the clubhouse before reporters were admitted. “Like anybody, you don’t want to go [to the Minors], but he understood,” Bochy said.
The Giants have been invited to tour the White House on Wednesday while they’re in the nation’s capital to play the Washington Nationals. A Giants media relations official said that President Obama won’t be around, so the ballclub won’t get the royal treatment that championship sports teams receive when welcomed by the Chief Executive.