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Pablo Sandoval could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend

Jun 2, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT

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The Giants had to get by for most of May without Pablo Sandoval in their lineup, but there’s increased optimism that he could return from the disabled list within the next week.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sandoval could be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend with High-A San Jose.

Sandoval underwent surgery on May 4 to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. It was almost one year removed from surgery to remove the hamate bone from his other hand. He’s not 100 percent quite yet, but the Giants believe he could hit left-handed only until his hand heals enough for him to bat right-handed. He’s currently taking batting practice from the left side and lightly hitting off a tee from the right side.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Baggarly that Sandoval would likely need four or five rehab games, which means he could be back late next week if all goes well.

Sandoval, 25, was hitting .316/.375/.537 with five homers, 15 RBI and a .912 OPS over his 104 plate appearances before suffering the injury.

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