SF@LAD: Sandoval flashes the leather at third base

LOS ANGELES -- Concerns about third baseman Pablo Sandoval's ailing right elbow have dwindled significantly, Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated Wednesday.

Before San Francisco began its season-opening series against Los Angeles, Bochy said that Sandoval's readiness to play each game might be a day-to-day issue at the outset, due to anticipated fluctuations in the switch-hitter's condition.

But Sandoval played San Francisco's entire first two games without aggravating his injury, which has been diagnosed as nerve irritation.

"I think we still have to keep an eye on him, but I think he's past [being day to day]," Bochy said. "He's passed all the tests -- how he's swinging, how he's playing third. That doesn't mean it's completely behind him. We still have to monitor his workload early."

Posey plays first in Lincecum's season debut

SF@LAD: Posey cuts down the speedy Crawford

LOS ANGELES -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn't just throw Tim Lincecum/Buster Posey conspiracy theorists a bone Wednesday. He tossed them an entire ribeye steak.

With Lincecum starting the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bochy played Posey at first base. This doubtlessly fueled more speculation that Posey and Lincecum can't cope with each other as batterymates -- though Posey caught Lincecum in last year's postseason and through much of the spring.

Bochy insisted that he moved Posey to first because Brandon Belt remained sick to his stomach and couldn't play. This gave Bochy the opportunity to give backup catcher Hector Sanchez a start.

Bochy knew that this wouldn't placate the fans and reporters who believe that Posey and Lincecum maintain an ongoing feud.

"I'll still be answering this [Posey/Lincecum] question," Bochy said. "But I'm telling the truth."

Worth noting

 • First baseman Brett Pill, who's recovering from arthroscopic right knee surgery he underwent on March 14, will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Fresno on Thursday.

• Bochy wants to give utility infielder Nick Noonan some playing time. But the nature of the early-season slate, which includes more day games and scheduled off-days than usual, makes resting everyday players difficult or unnecessary. "It woud be nice to get him a start," Bochy said of Noonan. "... It always takes one or two guys a while to get in there. But he's going to have to play."

• This season marks the third time since the franchise's move west in 1958 that Giants starting pitchers began the schedule by throwing six shutout innings or more apiece in the season's first two games. Madison Bumgarner's eight-inning two-hitter Tuesday followed Matt Cain's six innings on Opening Day. Giants pitchers also accomplished this in 1994 (John Burkett and Bill Swift, seven innings apiece against Pittsburgh) and 2010 (Tim Lincecum seven innings, Barry Zito six at Houston).