NEW YORK -- Although it's a little early to project the Giants' 2014 Opening Day roster, manager Bruce Bochy named rookie right-handers Heath Hembree and Jake Dunning as serious competitors for bullpen roles.
"They'll be in the mix going into Spring Training," Bochy said Saturday.
Entering Saturday, Hembree had pitched five scoreless innings spanning five appearances, striking out seven and yielding just one hit. The organization's No. 6 prospect has impressed Bochy with his improved secondary pitches to complement a lively fastball.
Dunning has received more exposure, compiling an 0-2 record with a 2.82 ERA over 25 appearances in two stints with the Giants.
Bochy acknowledged that after Friday night's 5-1 loss to the Yankees that was decided by Alex Rodriguez's tiebreaking seventh-inning grand slam, he and Giants staffers discussed the merits of using Hembree in that situation instead of George Kontos.
"You'd like to get the young guys in less stressful situations," said Bochy, who also indicated that Hembree and Dunning might be ready to perform under more challenging circumstances. "One of the keys [to development] is experiencing those types of situations."
Sandoval being plagued by sore back
NEW YORK -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval left Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Yankees with tightness in his lower back, which has bothered him intermittently this season.
Sandoval, who recorded two of San Francisco's six hits off Ivan Nova, did not take the field for the bottom of the eighth inning.
"His back flared up on him," said manager Bruce Bochy, who replaced Sandoval with Nick Noonan.
Sandoval's playing status for Sunday's series finale is uncertain. He's batting .274 with 13 home runs and 75 RBIs, second on the club to Hunter Pence's 93. The switch-hitter has appeared in 135 of San Francisco's 155 games, his highest total since he played 152 games in 2010.
Arias sidelined by sore left hamstring
NEW YORK -- Giants utility infielder Joaquin Arias is expected to be sidelined for a few of the season's dwindling days with a sore left hamstring, manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday.
Playing second base, Arias hurt himself as he broke for Eduardo Nunez's ground ball leading off the seventh inning of Friday's game against the Yankees. Arias was forced to halt his pursuit, enabling the ball to trickle into right field for a single. That began New York's winning rally that culminated in Alex Rodriguez's grand slam.
Arias' absence leaves the Giants particularly thin at second base, given Marco Scutaro's troubles with his left ring finger. Tony Abreu, who started Saturday, and Nick Noonan are left to occupy second base.
Arias has started 47 games this year, including 18 at third base, 17 at shortstop, eight at second base and four at first base. He's hitting .271 in 102 appearances with one home run and 19 RBIs.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.