After being benched the past four games in favor of Mike Fontenot(notes), Pablo Sandoval(notes), the San Francisco Giants opening-day third baseman and No. 3 hitter, may be back in the lineup Tuesday against Cole Hamels(notes) and the Philadelphia Phillies.
But the Giants lineup for NLCS Game 3 is actually in a decent amount of flux, so here's what we know right now.
(Or at least what we think we know right now based on Bruce Bochy's comments to the media on Monday afternoon at AT&T Park.)
• Juan Uribe's(notes) status is unclear: If you're a fantasy football player, you're quite familiar with coach speak and game-time decisions. That's the approach that Bochy took when discussing the injured left wrist of Juan Uribe.
Bochy, via Asap Sports:
"He was feeling a little bit better [on Monday]. If he's good to go, he'll be out there. So it's just a matter now of waiting to see how he feels and the results from the MRI."
I wonder if the earlier start time will have any bearing on Uribe's ability to get the proper treatment and preparation time, or maybe even influence Bochy to hold him back an extra day. Every minute counts during the healing process.
• If Uribe can't play, Pablo Sandoval will: Bochy made no bones about this one.
"Again, depends on Uribe's situation, with the two options we have there. But if Juan is not available, yes, Pablo will be out there."
The Panda headgear stock we told you to sell last week? Check to see if you buy it back on the cheap. I have a feeling if he gets a chance he's going to make the most of it.
• Edgar Renteria(notes) will start regardless of Uribe's status: The way Bochy worded his last answer makes it pretty clear that the decision comes down to Uribe or Sandoval at third base. So basically Renteria — the guy with the completely torn biceps tendon — is the only sure bet to play on the left side of the Giants infield.
• The Mike Fontenot experiment is over: Well, at least for Tuesday against a left-handed starter. But after his erratic defensive performance in Game 2, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the last time we see Fontenot in the lineup. He doesn't offer any real offensive upside, and if he's not going to be steady defensively, what's the point?
Moving to the outfield ...
I'd say Andres Torres is out and Aaron Rowand is in. I'm basing that on the fact that Bochy said he had to talk to both players about it after today's workout; that implies — though certainly does not guarantee — that there's a change.
Not so fast.
Rowand is only 3-for-33 since Aug. 22. And the fact that he's right-handed isn't as helpful as you might think. He only hit .211 against lefties this season.
Maybe Bruce Bochy would be wise to consider moving Cody Ross(notes) to center, Aubrey Huff(notes) to right, Buster Posey(notes) to first and get Eli Whiteside(notes) in the lineup. Yeah, that's a lot of tinkering and moving parts in an NLCS, but it's Aaron Rowand. There has to be an alternative to that.
I hate to suggest it's getting a bit messy for the Giants after looking so wonderful coming out of Game 1, but a lot can change quickly in the postseason.
Their best hope for Tuesday afternoon is that Matt Cain(notes) can offset the injuries and the question marks with a dominant outing. He's more than capable, and the Giants have never needed it more than right now.