By JOSE M. ROMERO
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The San Francisco Giants could be without All-Star third baseman Pablo Sandoval for at least the next couple of days after he felt numbness in his fingers from right elbow pain before Sunday’s spring training game.
Sandoval was injured on a throw during pregame warmups, manager Bruce Bochy said. He will get further treatment on the elbow Monday and possibly Tuesday, though neither Sandoval nor Bochy think it’s anything too serious.
“We think he’ll be fine,” Bochy said after the Giants’ 9-7 win over the Colorado Rockies. “But there’s always some concern anytime there’s an issue with the arm. Right now we feel like it won’t be too long.
“He’s had this before and came back fairly quickly, so we’ll see where we’re at in the next day or two,” Bochy said.
Sandoval, who is batting .435 in spring training with 10 hits in nine games, was replaced in the lineup by Joaquin Arias. Bochy also has Wilson Valdez and Kensuke Tanaka available to play third in Sandoval’s absence if needed.
On Sunday, Hunter Pence had three hits, drove in two runs and scored twice and Brandon Belt went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. The big hit of the game came from outfielder Cole Gillespie, who has an outside shot at a major league roster spot.
Gillespie hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
“He’s got a knack for hitting left-handers,” Bochy said. “He’s part of the mix. This thing will go down to the end.”
“Hopefully make those coaches think a little more,” Gillespie said.
The Giants tagged Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin for four runs on nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. Tim Lincecum pitched four innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and a strikeout for the Giants in his third spring appearance.
Chacin is in line to be the Rockies’ opening day starter on April 1 in Milwaukee, but said he really doesn’t care much whether he is given that designation.
“It’s an honor to pitch the first game, but. you just try to win games. It doesn’t matter who gets the first game, the last game,” Chacin said. “You’re just trying to get all together and pitch good and get wins.”
Giants closer Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but bullpen candidate Scott Proctor struggled in his inning of work, allowing two runs on two hits.
Red Sox 5, Rays 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jon Lester was perfect. Boston’s entire pitching staff nearly was on the day.
Lester retired 18 consecutive batters and combined with his bullpen to hold the Tampa Bay Rays without a baserunner until one out in the ninth, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 victory Sunday.
Jason Bourgeois reached on an infield hit in the ninth against Marco Duarte, Boston’s fourth pitcher.
Lester, Boston’s projected opening-day starter, struck out six and threw 53 of 79 pitches for strikes. He has allowed two runs, six hits and four walks over five starts and 20 innings, striking out 16.
“Eighteen up, 18 down,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “I thought the one thing that stood out to me was the number of 3-2 pitches that he executed. … He pitched with a lot of confidence. Didn’t overthrow. But yet, at the same time, we’re seeing an increase in power from start to start. Very sharp, obviously.”
Four of Lester’s six strikeouts ended innings. He set the tone early, with two strikeouts in the first inning.
“Was able to get in a good rhythm early on, established our fastball, just kind of went from there,” he said. “I had a good breaking ball today, which was good to see. We’ve been working on that. So all in all it was good day.”
Anthony Carter and Joel Hanrahan each pitched a perfect inning for Boston.
Bourgeois beat out a slow roller behind the second-base bag fielded by second baseman Jonathan Diaz, who didn’t have a play on the speedy runner. After reaching, Bourgeois advanced on Christian Vazquez’s two-out passed ball and scored on Cole Figueroa’s ground-rule double. For Bourgeois, it was the first time he’s been in a position to break up a perfect game.
“High school, summer league, Little League, I’ve never done anything like that,” he said. “Just glad I could shed some light on the day for us. It was a tough one today.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn’t bothered by the near no-hitter.
Marlins 6, Cardinals 0
JUPITER, Fla. — Ricky Nolasco got back on track — with better control of his fastball.
Nolasco returned to top form with six sharp innings and Giancarlo Stanton returned from the World Baseball Classic to help the Miami Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 on Sunday.
The Marlins likely opening day starter gave up seven runs on eight hits in three innings Tuesday against Houston. On Sunday, he struck out five and scattered six hits. He did not walk a batter.
“I did a good job of staying closed and keeping my fastball down,” said Nolasco. “Everything else today was pretty decent.”
Miami manager Mike Redmond was pleased with Nolasco’s turnaround, especially with only a few weeks until the regular season begins.
“It was nice to see Ricky bounce back like that today. That’s what veteran pitchers do,” Redmond said. “He pitched with a little bit of adrenaline out there.”
While Nolasco was sharp for the Marlins, St. Louis’ Lance Lynn was ineffective 3 2-3 innings. Lining up to be the No. 3 starter in the Cardinals’ rotation, Lynn was tagged for nine hits and five runs.
“There were a lot of things that didn’t work out in the end for him today, but I thought it was a day of moving forward from his last start,” St. Louis manager Mike Methany said of Lynn’s effort.
Lynn, who has lost three of his four decisions and saw his ERA balloon to 7.50, started to struggle in the third inning as the Marlins scored three runs on five hits to increase their lead to 4-0.
Giancarlo Stanton who was back in the lineup after playing for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, followed Placido Polanco’s single with a double to left.
Rob Brantly, who had three straight RBI singles, drove in Polanco. After Justin Ruggiano’s sacrifice fly scored Stanton, Casey Kotchman delivered an RBI hit.
Orioles 7, Twins 1
SARASOTA, Fla. — Vance Worley could end up starting for the Minnesota Twins on opening day. If he does, he’ll have to pitch better than he has this spring to justify the assignment.
Acquired from Philadelphia in December for outfielder Ben Revere, Worley allowed three runs and six hits over four innings Sunday in Minnesota’s 7-1 loss to a Baltimore Orioles split squad.
In four Grapefruit League starts, the right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. He has allowed 19 hits in 12 innings.
“Some things didn’t go my way. I kept the ball in the infield like I wanted. I just didn’t have it hit to anybody hard enough,” Worley said.
The Twins have high hopes for Worley, who slumped to a 6-9 record with a 4.20 ERA last year after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA as a Phillies rookie in 2011.
He allowed two runs on four singles and an infield out in the second inning Sunday before giving up J.J. Hardy’s first home run of the spring in the fourth. Worley threw 51 pitches before getting a swing-and-miss.
“I don’t get a lot of swing-and-misses in general. Everybody says the same thing: ‘You’ve got to get more swing-and-misses.’ Maybe they should swing at those pitches I want them to swing at. That’s really nothing I can do. My job is to get ahead in the count and get them to put the ball in play,” Worley said.
Steve Johnson, one of several pitchers competing for the No. 5 spot in Baltimore’s rotation, threw four scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and walked one while striking out two.
“It is definitely a heated battle, but it’s a lot of fun going out there and competing,” Johnson said. “You’re not only competing against the other team but you’re competing against the other five, six, seven guys or however many we have going after the spot. So it’s a lot of fun and it’s just an honor to be in the running.”
Hardy was 1 for 21 before his home run.
“It was definitely nice to put a barrel to a ball,” he said. “I wasn’t really worried. We still have a few weeks left. I’ll get a few more at-bats. I wasn’t too worried about the first 25 (at-bats) or so, but that definitely felt good.”
Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer and Lew Ford drove in three runs. Ford, a non-roster outfielder, is batting .483 this spring. Wieters is hitting .500.