The demise of Freddy Sanchez was apparently exaggerated
When Sanchez made his spring debut as a DH last Friday, we heard that he could make his debut in the field on Monday.
Then Bruce Bochy corrected himself, saying it would not be until at least Wednesday.
Then Cal Steward of the San Jose Mercury News wrote Sunday that it might not come until Friday, and even that was in doubt.
It made some wonder if Sanchez might not be ready to open the season.
But then Monday came, and there was Sanchez in the field before Monday’s game against the Royals taking groundballs.
Sanchez took groundballs and flipped the ball toward second base, simulating the start of a double play. Then he started to take tosses from shortstop Brandon Crawford and completed the turn with a throw to first base.
“He’s turning it up a notch and getting ready to go out there and play,” Bochy said.
Bochy said the hopes are that Sanchez will make his first defensive start on Thursday.
Ryan Vogelsong: The pitcher threw 35 bullpen pitches on Sunday, and will throw another 45 on Wednesday as he makes progress after suffering a sore back to open camp. But with the starters now on their third round of spring starts, time is working against Vogelsong. However, Bochy did mention that the Giants don’t need a No. 5 starter until April 15 (which is what MoreSplashHits has been saying all along).
Buster Posey: Posey will catch four innings on Tuesday, then play DH on Wednesday.
Brian Wilson: After his nine-pitch debut Sunday, The Beard will pitch another inning Wednesday.
ROSTER CUT DOWN
After Monday’s game with the Royals, pitchers Seth Rosin, Shawn Sanford, catcher Andrew Sugac and infielder Joe Panik were reassigned to minor league camp. Also IF Ehire Adranza was optioned to Triple-A. Earlier, OF Francisco Peguero was optioned to Triple-A and C Tommy Joseph and pitchers Stephen Harold, Jake Dunning, Austin Fleet and David Quinowski were assigned to minor league camp.
Don’t worry, Matt Cain. We still love you.
When Cain left the bullpen Friday and walked onto the field at Scottsdale Stadium, he was greeted by huge roar from the Giants fans.
“I thought everybody really loved me,” Cain quipped. “And then I looked behind me and saw Buster.”
Buster Posey returned to live action for the first time since May 25 of last year, catching Cain two innings and flying out to right in his lone at-bat in the Giants’ win over the Reds.
“It was fun,” Posey said. “I’ve put in a lot of work. Even though it was only two innings, it was nice to be out there.”
Posey will get Saturday off, then return Sunday to catch four inning, according to manager Bruce Bochy.
“It was good to see Buster back out there playing again,” Bochy said. “I know he was excited. It was great to see the ovation he got when he walked out to the bullpen. … Everyone was happy to see Buster playing again.”
Well, that’s for sure. And it was also good to see Freddy Sanchez, too.
Sanchez went 1 for 4 as the Giants designated hitter Friday in his first game since a shoulder injury ended his season last June. But the big test will come Monday, when he plays his first game at second base.
“Playing defense will be a big stepping stone for me,” said Sanchez, who will DH again on Saturday and Sunday. “I feel like I’m getting a little stronger each day.”
- Matt Cain pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits, no walks and striking out four. He has not allowed a run in five innings this spring.
- OF Melky Cabrera continues to rake. He went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer in the third inning. He’s hitting .588.
- Aubrey Huff made his first spring start in left field. He went 0 for 3 and is hitting .214 this spring.
- Meanwhile, Brandon Belt came off the bench and replaced Nate Schierholtz in right field. He went 2 for 2 with a double and an eighth-inning home run. He’s hitting .389.
The Giants play split-squad games on Saturday. Barry Zito will start at Scottsdale against the Brewers, where he won’t have Prince Fielder to throw at anymore. Right-hander Shane Loux gets the start in Tempe against the Angels.
Giants fans got the confirmation Thursday morning that they’ve been waiting for since last May.
Buster Posey will play in a Giants uniform on Friday against the Reds.
“The plan is to catch a couple innings tomorrow,” Posey told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday morning. “I’m excited.”
He’s not the only one.
Posey ran the basepaths and noticed significant improvement.
When asked by a reporter to give a percentage of how hard he was running, Posey replied with a question of his own.
“How hard do you think I was running?” he asked with a smile.
When Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman said about 80 percent, Posey replied: “I guess Henry doesn’t think I have much left in the tank.”
All joking aside, Posey said he was running at about 60-70 percent effort after running on the outfield cut of the grass on Monday. He’s expected to run bases again Thursday.
“I’m happy I’ve been able to do baseball activities,” Posey said. “We knew from the time I was injured (last May) that bases would be the last thing to come. We’ve been lucky everything has gone smoothly as it has.”
Freddy Sanchez also is expected to make his spring debut Friday, as the designated hitter.
Sanchez, who had shoulder surgery last August, practiced throwing across his body from second base for the first time Wednesday. But the Giants will continue to take a conservative approach with him.
Both Posey and Sanchez hit live batting practice against Brian Wilson on Wednesday.
Wilson, who is coming off elbow troubles last year, declared himself ready to go.
“I’m totally ready ready, and now I have three days to prepare myself.”
Wilson will make his spring debut Sunday or Monday.
Good news for Giants reliever Runzler
The last thing Dan Runzler wanted to do this spring was take a flight to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews.
But the report from the doctor was good, and the left-hander could be back pitching in games by mid-to-late April.
Runzler took his lat muscle in the regular-season finale. He had been healthy this spring until he felt something grab in his shoulder during a bullpen session late last week.
But Andrews said that Runzler only aggravated the injury and would not require surgery.
“It definitely put my head at ease,” Runzler told CSNBayArea.com. “He compared the MRIs before and after and said it was just a small aggravation. It’s not like I re-did it. He was very optimistic.”
Runzler said he should be game ready in four to six weeks.
That will take him out of the running for the final bullpen spot, expected to go to Clay Hensley.
Runzler expects to open the season in extended spring training. Then, he’ll likely head to Fresno
The Giants received some encouraging news on some of their ailing or rehabbing stars. We may see all (or at least most) of the Giants in a spring training game by the end of the week.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey really wanted to be ready to for last Saturday’s spring opener. He was close, but the Giants took the conservative road and held him out. Manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Posey worked on his running and sliding on Monday. He is scheduled to start running full speed on the bases Tuesday to make sure his surgically-repaired ankle can hold up to making turns on the bases. If everything goes well, Posey could make his spring debut as a DH on Friday against the Reds. Bochy said he could even catch an inning or two.
FREDDY SANCHEZ: The second baseman coming off shoulder surgery may have already been in games as a DH if he did suffer back spasms early last week. That spring debut could come Thursday or Friday for Sanchez. Bochy said he’s not ready to get Sanchez in the game as a second baseman, but he’s more willing to get his bat into game situations.
BRIAN WILSON: The Beard pronounced himself ready to go after throwing batting practice on Sunday. Bochy said Wilson will make his spring debut on Sunday, after throwing another BP session on Wednesday. Wilson is recovering from elbow inflammation that cost him most of the final two months of 2011.
DAN RUNZLER: Runzler was sent to see Dr. James Andrews for a consultation on his strained shoulder on Sunday. We haven’t heard anything since. And in this case, no news is bad news. A lat strain could sideline Runzler six weeks. He needed a strong spring to make the roster. That won’t happen now.
The Giants second baseman even made throws to first base, the first time he’s thrown to a base since his shoulder surgery last August.
Manager Bruce Bochy said it’s time to “pick up the pace” on Sanchez’s return from his shoulder injury to get him ready for the season opener. The plan right now is to get Sanchez into games by the second full week in March, either at second base or as a designated hitter.
While both Bochy and Sanchez said there’s plenty of time for the second baseman to get ready, Sanchez admitted to being antsy about returning to the field after his minor setback on Monday.
For more on Sanchez’s day, check out CSNBayArea.com.
THIS AND THAT
- BUSTER POSEY: Bochy said that Buster Posey won’t start Saturday’s spring training opener against Arizona, adding that he would not catch. But then he backpedaled, saying that he might get an inning behind the plate. Posey could also DH, often employed during spring training even by NL clubs.
- CLAY HENSLEY: CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly had a nice piece on pitcher Clay Hensley and his perspective on the play that ended Buster Posey’s season last May. Hensley was a member of the Florida Marlins. To see the report click here.
Somehow, this has got to be some kind of weird retribution for last season.
Of the eight positions players on the Giants’ opening day roster, five have made a trip to the disabled list this season: 1B Brandon Belt, 2B Freddy Sanchez, 3B Pablo Sandoval, C Buster Posey and CF Andres Torres. And that doesn’t count RF Cody Ross, who opened the season on the DL.
The other three players — RF Aubrey Huff, SS Miguel Tejada and LF Pat Burrell — are hitting .234, .227 and .221 respectively.
Ross eventually came off the DL, and so did Torres. Sandoval will come off on Tuesday. Belt won’t be back until after the All-Star break. Posey is done of the season, and we just news on Sanchez.
An MRI revealed that there is damage to Sanchez’s labrum and the shoulder capsule is stretched, making it susceptible to repeated dislocations.
The plan right now is to see how Sanchez’s shoulder responds to rehab over the next few weeks and hope he can return this season. Surgery to strengthen the shoulder will be necessary, but the Giants would like to hold it off until after the season.
We consider that a longshot. It may just be best to consider surgery as quickly as possible to begin rehab for 2012. That’s because the Giants signed Sanchez to a one-year extension for 2012 at the start of this season.
After the Giants’ 4-2 win over the Reds on Sunday, they activated 3B Pablo Sandoval from the disabled list and optioned Connor Gillaspie back to Fresno. We expected as much.
For depth, the Giants added utility man Bill Hall on Saturday. But he’s likely not going to be the answer.
At one point, Hall was a promising hitter for the Brewers. He hit 17 HRs, 62 RBI and hit .291 in 146 games in 2005. It got better in 2006 — 35 HR, 85 RBI, .270 in 148 games.
And then things turned downward — 14/63/.254 in 2007; 15/55/.225 in 2008.
In 2009, he hit .201 with 6 HR and 24 RBI in 76 games when the Brewers traded him to the Mariners, where he hit .200 with 2 HR and 12 RBI in 34 games.
The Mariners traded him to the Red Sox, where he hit .247 with 18 HR and 46 RBI in 120 games.
He signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, but only hit .224 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 46 games before being released on June 4.
Oh, and what he did in his first game with the Giants on Saturday is pretty much his M.O. — he strikes out about once every three times he steps to the plate.
And the hits just keeping on coming.
Fortunately, so do the walk-off wins.
Just as there appeared to be a little bit of light at the end of the injury tunnel, things got dark again when Freddy Sanchez left Friday’s game with a dislocated shoulder.
The injury didn’t keep the Giants from getting their ninth walk-off win of the season on Nate Schierholtz’s game-winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Giants a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
But the excitement of the win was sobered some by the injury to Sanchez.
Sanchez hurt his shoulder while making a diving stop of a groundball up the middle. He left the game in clear pain and was later taken to the hospital for treatment, after Giants trainers popped the shoulder back in place.
Now, we wait for an MRI on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury.
If accurate, the initial diagnosis for a dislocated shoulder is better than a separated shoulder. A separated shoulder involves a tear of the ligament that holds the shoulder in place. It would require a six-week minimum of recovery time, and likely would require surgery.
With a dislocated shoulder, you’re looking at a recovery time of 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the severity.
In the meantime, the Giants have to consider their next roster move, assuming Sanchez is headed to the DL.
Infielders Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval are on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno. Both were expected to rejoin the Giants on Tuesday, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy did not expect either to return any sooner. Fontenot, in fact, may have suffered a setback with his groin injury on Friday.
The first option is to do nothing and wait for Sandoval to rejoin the team on Tuesday in Arizona. With the Giants playing an afternoon game Saturday and with Fresno playing in Salt Lake City, there’s little chance of getting a replacement player in town ready to play Saturday. So we’re really only talking about playing shorthanded one more game on Sunday.
This is the most likely option. Sandoval would then take over a third base on his return, with Burriss taking over at second base until Fontenot returns. We could even see Miguel Tejada at second base, particularly if he continues his recent hot streak. Fontenot’s return from the DL likely would result in Connor Gillaspie returning to Triple-A.
But there’s another option. On Friday, Bochy mentioned that the Giants have not discounted the possibility of Sandoval playing catcher on occassion — saying that he would only make two starts a week at most under that scenario. That option would lead to Chris Stewart being sent back to Fresno.
And the Giants could also consider calling up Brett Pill from Fresno. Pill has gotten off to a fast start at Triple-A, playing both 1B and 2B. At this point, the Giants have no sub for Aubrey Huff at first base, with Sandoval becoming the first backup option at 1B when he returns. But calling up Pill would require the Giants to make a move to open a spot on the 40-man roster. That could be created by sending Buster Posey to the 60-day DL.
Interesting to see which way the Giants go.