PHOENIX -- Being the lone left-hander in the Giants' bullpen, though that's only temporary, won't change Javier Lopez's daily approach.
"One of the benefits we have as a bullpen is that we have guys who can come in and get righties and lefties out," Lopez said Tuesday, referring to the club's right-handed relievers. "It doesn't change my preparation by any means. Obviously, availability is more of a priority for me, to make sure I do everything to get ready to go."
Lopez contributed significantly to Monday's 6-4 triumph over Arizona, striking out left-handers Miguel Montero and Jason Kubel in the eighth inning.
But, as Lopez mentioned, the Giants have a pair of right-handers at their disposal who have performed competently against left-handed hitters in a setup role: Jean Machi (.100, 1-for-10) and George Kontos (.250, 4-for-16). Closer Sergio Romo also has been effective against lefties (.231, 6-for-26).
The Giants' complement of left-handed relievers could grow as early as Friday, when Jeremy Affeldt is likely to be reinstated from the disabled list. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Affeldt will face hitters in an extended spring training game Wednesday at Tempe, which is expected to be the final hurdle of his recovery from a strained right side.
Sandoval back in lineup after elbow scare
PHOENIX -- As it turned out, there was never any doubt that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval would start Tuesday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Sandoval left Monday's game with elbow discomfort after hitting an RBI single that tied the score in the fifth inning. That prompted concern among the Giants, given the problems Sandoval endured with the same elbow toward the end of Spring Training. But manager Bruce Bochy said that the switch-hitter felt better before he even departed Chase Field.
Sandoval has started 26 of San Francisco's 27 games.
In another personnel matter, Bochy said that second baseman Marco Scutaro will be rested on Wednesday to maximize his time off, thereby keeping the 37-year-old fresh. Since the Giants have a scheduled off-day Thursday, this essentially would give Scutaro two days off, unless he enters Wednesday's game as a substitute and plays a significant number of innings.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.