SAN FRANCISCO -- The sight of batted balls landing on the arcade and caroming off the wall in right field meant one thing Tuesday.
Pablo Sandoval was hitting.
Sandoval staged an impressive display Tuesday as he took batting practice outdoors for the first time since he fractured his left hamate bone May 2. Hitting exclusively left-handed during early batting practice, Sandoval swung at 30 pitches and made authoritative contact with many of them.
"I'm excited to be outside," Sandoval said. "I was swinging normal, getting my rhythm going."
Sandoval's injured hand remained too tender to allow him to hit right-handed, since he wraps his bottom hand around the knob of the bat. Manager Bruce Bochy said that Sandoval took several practice swings right-handed but did not try hitting baseballs from that side. But Bochy added that Sandoval is "close" to being able to take right-handed batting practice.
Sandoval was satisfied with the results of an examination he received Monday from team orthopedist Ken Akizuki, though the third baseman coyly told reporters, "I don't want to give you the details."
Referring to the original four- to six-week timetable for his recovery, Sandoval indicated that returning around the six-week juncture is likely, primarily to avoid any aggravation of the injury. Sandoval was sidelined for 6 1/2 weeks when he broke his right hamate bone last year.