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Pablo Sandoval hasn’t seen Bruce Bochy since 2019: ‘I want to give him a hug’

Pablo Sandoval hasn’t seen Bruce Bochy since 2019: ‘I want to give him a hug’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Breaking from a rambunctious Sunday morning conversation in Spanish with Jorge Soler, Pablo Sandoval grabbed the bat from his locker and began to make his way toward the clubhouse door and on to the batting cages for his morning hitting routine when a reporter interrupted him midstride.

Sandoval didn’t have time to talk, he said. That is, until he learned of the subject of the conversation.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah,” Sandoval said. “I want to see Boch. I want to give him a hug. Congratulate him about last year. And thank me for all the support and advice he gave me to get back to the field.”

Yes, Sandoval was happy to make an exception to talk about the manager with whom he won three World Series and spent the first 10 years of his career. When his new manager, Bob Melvin, asked him about making the hour-long trek to Surprise for their exhibition against Bruce Bochy’s Rangers, again Sandoval was glad to oblige.

“I told him I would love to go because we’ve got a great relationship,” Sandoval said. “It’s special to have a manager for 10 years in your career and still have the communication, the relationship with him. He called me son.”

Despite their bond, Sandoval said the last time he saw Bochy in person was at the end of the 2019 season, when Bochy stepped away from the Giants.

Now back in the manager’s seat — and a newly minted World Series champion for the fourth time — Bochy heard from Sandoval this offseason, when the 37-year-old was beginning to spread the word that he was back in shape and attempting to make a comeback.

Sandoval said he also had an outstanding offer from the Rangers to come to camp as a non-roster invitee, but he chose the Giants over Bochy.

“I was sending workout videos to him too,” Sandoval said. “He was excited. He was happy to see me back in shape and happy to love the game again.”

Melvin, who overlapped with Bochy on the other side of the Bay for Bochy’s final nine years in San Francisco — and two of his World Series titles — said he had a “really good” relationship with his counterpart, with whom he’s been known to share a bottle of wine.

“I don’t have anything for him today,” Melvin said. “Won a World Series; he can give me one now.”

Doctors clear Winn

Melvin let out a sigh of relief, literally, when asked about Keaton Winn.

Last week, the promising 26-year-old split-finger artist felt some soreness in his right elbow following a bullpen session — the second time he’s felt discomfort in his elbow since he was called up last season — and was temporarily shut down. But he is set to resume throwing Monday after doctors gave him the all-clear Friday.

“Phew,” Melvin said. “I was glad to hear that. We thought it was minor, but you never know these days. … It gets your attention, for sure.”

With Winn still about a week away from game action, another young right-hander, Mason Black, will start Monday’s game against the Angels, Melvin said, and free-agent signing Jordan Hicks will make his debut Tuesday.

Winn and Melvin were both confident he would be ready by Opening Day, though, if maybe only stretched out to 70 or 80 pitches.

“I kind of expected it, but it was still good to hear,” Winn said. “Last year was more, I don’t want to say wear and tear, but more inflammation. This is more just stressed the nerve out is the best way to understand it. Kind of just shocked it, scared it a little bit.”

Fantasy punishment

Sometime soon, J.D. Davis will don a protective helmet and a jersey with “BB” on the back and stoop onto the stool in the on-deck circle.

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That, per tradition, is his punishment for finishing in last place in the team’s fantasy football league last season. Davis, like broadcaster Dave Flemming did so amusingly last spring and the tandem of Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski two years ago, must serve as bat boy for a game.

The champion, if you followed the Tommy Pham saga of two years ago, should come as no surprise: Joc Pederson.

A date hasn’t been decided, but maybe it would be appropriate to give Pederson the satisfaction of paying witness. The Giants visit Pederson’s new club, the D’backs, on Thursday, then don’t play them again until their final game in the desert on March 23.

The rules stipulate the player only has to perform duties until the Giants’ starting pitcher comes out of the game. So, using logical reasoning, Davis said, “better to knock it out early.”