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Giants seeking answers with Uribe in doubt

Giants seeking answers with Uribe in doubt

PHILADELPHIA -- Juan Uribe was a late scratch from the Giants' starting lineup on Sunday night in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park because of a swollen left wrist.

Whether he'll be back in there on Tuesday for Game 3 at San Francisco's AT&T Park is still very much in question. But that may not be manager Bruce Bochy's only concern as he tries to shake up an offense that generated just four hits in a 6-1 loss to the Phillies that knotted the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.

With left-hander Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies, Bochy could opt to sit lefty-swinging third baseman Mike Fontenot in lieu of switch-hitting Pablo Sandoval, and struggling center fielder Andres Torres for veteran Aaron Rowand -- a right-handed hitter.

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"These are the things we'll talk about on the flight back," Bochy said after the game. "Facing a left-hander, you'll see a couple of changes."


Uribe injured his wrist jamming it into second base on a headfirst slide during Saturday night's 4-3 Giants victory. When he tried to take batting practice before Sunday's game, he took a couple of swings and gave up, he said.

"[Saturday] I didn't feel anything," Uribe said. "I took another at-bat. Today, I went to the cage and I felt a little pain. All I took was two swings. The first one was, wow. The second one was, heck no. I'm not going to play unless I feel better."

Uribe was replaced in the lineup by Edgar Renteria, who may indeed start again on Tuesday. Bochy said he'll see how Uribe's wrist reacts during an off-day workout on Monday at AT&T Park. Uribe may also undergo some imaging tests, but that has yet to be determined.

"He'll be evaluated [on Monday]," Bochy said. "We'll see where we're at with him. We're hopeful he'll be available. But I can't answer that until we check on him."

Torres -- the leadoff hitter -- looked overmatched on Sunday night, striking out four times in as many at-bats against Phillies starter and winner Roy Oswalt. For six postseason starts, he's batting .120 with three singles and 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats. He's whiffed six times in the first two games of this series, is 1-for-8, and appears completely lost at the plate.

Silent sticks
Fewest hits by the Giants in an NLCS game
Date Game Opp. Res. Hits
10/17/10 NLCS 2 Phi. 6-1 L 4
10/13/02 NLCS 4 Stl. 4-3 W 4
10/9/1989 NLCS 5 CHC 3-2 W 4
10/5/1971 NLCS 3 Pit. 2-1 L 5
10/13/1987 NLCS 6 Stl. 1-0 L 6
10/14/2002 NLCS 5 Stl. 2-1 W 7
10/10/2002 NLCS 2 Stl. 4-1 W 7
10/11/1987 NLCS 5 Stl. 6-3 W 7
10/9/1987 NLCS 3 Stl. 6-5 L 7
10/6/1987 NLCS 1 Stl. 5-3 L 7
10/2/1971 NLCS 1 Pit. 5-4 W 7

Torres said if Bochy opted to play Rowand on Tuesday he would certainly understand. Torres supplanted Rowand as the regular center fielder when he was healthy during much of the season.

"I respect Rowand," Torres said. "He's a great player. I'm going to be ready, though, no matter what happens."

But Rowand has had only two at-bats (with a single) this postseason. And he only had 22 at-bats in September and October. Because of that, he was on the bubble to make the roster for each of the first two rounds of the playoffs. So he's not exactly in tip-top playing mode.

Bochy said that all players go through ebbs and flows during the season, and that's what's happening now to Torres, who missed several weeks in late August, early September after having his appendix removed.

"It's obvious his timing is off, the kid has had a great year for us," Bochy said about Torres, who is actually 32 and no kid. "He's a big reason why we're here. There's no question he's struggling, but other hitters are, too. He's fighting it a little bit. You start battling yourself a little bit. He's certainly a guy who makes us go when he goes. But it would be nice to get him going, no question."

Like Rowand, Sandoval has also become a bit player of late. He started the first two games of the postseason and has since been benched at third base in lieu of Fontenot, who made a glaring first-inning throwing error that led to the Phillies' first run. Two innings later, Fontenot missed a Jimmy Rollins pop to the left of the mound because he thought somebody had called him off.

Sandoval, 1-for-6 in the postseason, is no longer the loveable "Panda" of 2009. During the regular season he batted .268 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs.

Fontenot, though, has been no Cody Ross, who hit his fourth postseason homer in the last three games on Sunday night. He's 2-for-12 with a triple in the postseason, and it's probably time for Bochy to utilize some of his right-handed bats against Hamels, one of the top left-handed pitchers in the league.

Uribe-Renteria, Fontenot-Sandoval, Torres-Rowand -- that's a lot for a manager to digest in a postseason where runs are at a premium.

Even the usually reliable Aubrey Huff is batting .217 with no extra-base hits and four RBIs.

"We've all got to see the ball better and take better at-bats," Huff said. "I'm guilty as charged."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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