SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Although Pablo Sandoval had pretty much run out of steam by the time he got to third, Kung Fu Panda kept on chugging.
The San Francisco Giants’ hefty slugger scored the go-ahead run and maybe burned off a few ounces of flab along the way, getting the defending champions’ spring off to a rollicking start.
Ryan Vogelsong pitched two scoreless innings, Sandoval lumbered home on Jackson Williams‘ double, and the Giants opened Cactus League play with a 4-1 victory over a Los Angeles Angels split squad Saturday.
The last time Sandoval was in a major league game, he wrapped up the World Series MVP award in San Francisco’s sweep of Detroit last October. Although he played in Venezuela’s professional league this winter and will play in the World Baseball Classic soon, he acknowledges he’s a few weeks and several pounds away from recapturing his postseason form.
“It looked like home plate was running away from me,” Sandoval said.
Mike Scioscia didn’t single out those starters by name, but the Angels’ manager did rule out his projected five starters from pitching in games for at least another week. The Angels open Cactus League play with split-squad games Saturday against the Cubs and Giants.
“The guys that we’re looking at, especially Weave [Jered Weaver], he doesn’t need to get started until somewhere around the first” of March, Scioscia said. “It would just be too long for him. He wouldn’t need it.”
An MRI Tuesday on Ryan Madson’s right elbow came back negative, but the man the Angels hoped to be their opening-day closer won’t be their closer on opening day.
That’s the way it appears for now, at least. Madson, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is still dealing with soreness in the elbow. Opening day is April 1 in Cincinnati and there’s no target date for Madson’s return.
In a way, he sees that as a relief.
“Now, yes, especially because that’s what I was going towards,” he said. “Maybe it got me into a little bit of trouble. Now I don’t have a set date in mind. I want to let my arm guide me. The trainers are good in there, already did a lot of good work this morning. It feels good.”