Back surgery for Freddy Sanchez, Giants career likely over

Back surgery for Freddy Sanchez, Giants career likely over
July 5, 2012, 9:49 pm
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WASHINGTON -- Second baseman Freddy Sanchez had surgery Thursday to remove a portion of a disc in his lower back, ending any chance of returning this season and likely bringing an abrupt conclusion to his career as a Giant.

The Giants medical staff said Sanchez's micro discectomy, which was performed by spinal specialist Dr. Robert Watkins, went as anticipated.

"Well, he's out for the year," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's been a long road for Freddy. I know he's disappointed. He certainly played a critical role in our success in 2010. He helped us win a World Series."

Sanchez signed a 6 million extension last year; he will be a free agent after this season. Bochy indicated there could be some interest in re-signing Sanchez in some form or another, although the back injury combined with shoulder problems makes that possibility very, very hazy.

"You don't know what happens when the season's over," Bochy said. "We still remain optimistic optimistic, but this is a definite that we won't have him all year."

Sanchez, 34, hasn't played since June 10th of last season when he went 1-2 with a single. The former batting champion dislocated his shoulder while diving for a ground ball up the middle. He tried to rehab the shoulder injury for two months before undergoing surgery to trim his damaged labrum and tighten the capsule.

Although Sanchez pledged to be ready by opening day, he wasn't able to stay on a throwing schedule in spring training and couldn't make throws across his body to turn double plays. Sanchez had tried moving to third base in late April, but his back began bothering him and made it impossible to return to baseball activities.

The Giants pieced together second base for most of April with Emmanuel Burriss and Ryan Theriot, who struggled to play through an elbow injury. But after a stint on the DL allowed Theriot to get healthy, he's established himself as a solid everyday player and No. 2 hitter.

Sanchez spent most of his Giants career on the DL after the club acquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline in 2009. But he will remain a part of Giants lore for his strong second half in 2010, and moreso, for his deeds in the postseason as the franchise won its first World Series in the San Francisco.

Most notably, Sanchez became the first player in major league history to hit three doubles in his first World Series game. Even more important was his two-out, ninth-inning single in Gmae 3 of the NLDS at Atlanta, which kept the game alive. Aubrey Huff followed with a tying single and the Giants won on Brooks Conrad's error.

Although the Giants didn't play an elimination game in 2010, they never came closer to having their backs against the wall than when hard-throwing reliever Craig Kimbrel was 0-2 against Sanchez. He ended up guiding a 1-2 pitch up the middle.

"That base hit is one I'll always remember," Bochy said. "That would've made it a lot tougher if we lost that game."

Sanchez was a three-time All-Star with the Pirates and hit .344 to win the NL batting crown in 2006.

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