EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez finally looking like a second baseman


EXTRA BAGGS: Sanchez finally looking like a second baseman

PHOENIX The Giants are 0-3 to start a season for the firsttime in 28 years, but at least they saw something positive before the firstpitch was thrown Sunday.

Second baseman Freddy Sanchez took infield and lookednoticeably better while making throws, including double-play pivots.

Sanchez was dropping down, throwing across his body andgetting much more on his throws compared to how he looked when he tried to takeinfield three weeks ago. Hes been playing second base in minor league campgames hell play again Monday in extended spring but hasnt been tested bymany tough plays thus far.

Sanchez told trainers and coaches that his surgicallyrepaired shoulder is finally starting to turn a corner. Maybe it was thecortisone shot he received at the end of March. Or maybe hes just finallygetting over some of the mental hurdles. Either way, its now much morerealistic for me to envision him playing second base in the major leagues againsometime soon.

If he has no setbacks, the rough plan calls for Sanchez tobegin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Fresno by the end of theweek. The maximum length of a rehab stint for a position player is 20 days. Soits possible that Sanchez could return at the beginning of May, if not sooner.

The Giants need his right-handed bat. Or did you not notice how their offense died the moment left-hander Wade Miley entered the game?

Its amazing that the Diamondbacks could commit five errors,fall behind 6-0 after three innings against a quality pitcher like Matt Cain andstill find a way to win the game.

The Giants practically gave it away in the seventh. Still,all those home runs and doubles have a magical way to get you back into games.Thats what power does for you.

On a related note, werent they once kicking around the ideaof a humidor at Chase Field?

Bruce Bochy doesnt care to hear that the Giants have losteight consecutive to Arizona, or 10 of the last 12.

I dont get caught up in those numbers as much as we didntplay well, Bochy said. We did for three innings (Sunday). After that, wedidnt execute. Were lucky. We couldve gotten blown out.

True. On the road, the Giants lost three one-run games to avery good opponent. On paper, these losses dont look as bad as they did inperson.

Sunday was a study in contrasts for Buster Posey. He lookedgreat while sending an opposite-field home run soaring. He aggressively slidinto second base while trying to break up a double play.

But he also looked, really, really tentative at times behindthe plate. He made three of the Giants six errors in the series. And twice, hemade the final out with the tying run on base. His at-bats definitely were notas crisp as the games dragged on.

I think its fair to assume that itll take time for Poseyto truly get back in game shape and feel comfortable behind the plate. Itsalso fair to assume that hell need plenty of days off including Monday atColorado.

I think I could go back out there, said Posey, whosalready been told he wont start anywhere on the field Monday. At the sametime, itll be nice to rest it as well.

Nate Schierholtz had an interesting day. He entered as theright fielder on a double-switch in the seventh inning. But Bochy needed todouble-switch again when he summoned, Sergio Romo, his fourth reliever of theinning.

So out came Schierholtz, Melky Cabrera moved back from rightto left, Gregor Blanco shifted over from center field and Angel Pagan enteredthe game.

I didnt hear Bochys response in detail when asked aboutwhy he didnt just insert Schierholtz in the No.9 spot instead of the pitcherat the start of the inning, but I think he was planning on using a right-handedpinch hitter either Brett Pill or Ryan Theriot in the eighth.

That plan changed when he knew he needed to keep Romo in thegame. Just another thing that went wrong for the Giants in this series.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."