Reason for optimism No. 10: The Panda is back.
Tuesday’s game in Arizona will mark the return of Pablo Sandoval to the lineup. Sandoval has been out of the lineup since late April when he suffered a broken bone in his hand.
After rededicating himself in the offseason, Sandoval got off to solid start in 2011. He was hitting .313 with 5 HRs and 14 RBI when he got hurt. He was leading the team in home runs. Now, Aubrey Huff leads the Giants with 8 HRs.
Yeah, it’s that bad. But the Panda gives the Giants a needed bat. Bruce Bochy has talked about keep Nate Schierholtz in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, with Sandoval hitting No. 5. Please, Bruce, let’s not.
I think we can all agree Sandoval is the best hitter in the Giants’ lineup right now. And you put your best hitter in the No. 3 hole. No. 3 is where Albert Pujols hits. It’s where Joey Votto hits, where Ryan Braun hits. It’s where The Panda should hit.
If we were drawing up the lineup for Tuesday’s game in Arizona, it would look like this: CF Andres Torres, 2B Manny Burriss, 3B Pablo Sandoval, 1B Aubrey Huff, LF Cody Ross, LF Nate Schierholtz, SS Brandon Crawford, C Eli Whiteside, P Matt Cain.