Arm a concern, but Sanchez confident for Opening Day

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Arm a concern, but Sanchez confident for Opening Day

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez wont beturning double plays when the Giants take the field for their first full-squadworkout on Friday. He wont even lob a throw to first base.

He has no idea when trainers will clear him to graduatebeyond playing catch, either. But Sanchez offered a hearty oh,definitely when asked if he would be ready for the season opener April 6.

I can go to the minors and get six, seven at-bats. Illstill take ground balls and get in baseball shape, Sanchez said. Hopefully bythen, the arm will be where it needs to be. Sanchez expressed similar confidence two springs ago, whenhe was coming off left shoulder surgery. But Sanchez ended up missing the first38 games of that season before debuting in May. All was forgotten when the yearended with his brilliant performance in the World Series. Now Sanchez is dealing with a potentially more significantsurgery to stabilize a loose and damaged right shoulder, which he dislocatedwhile diving for a grounder in June. Its his throwing shoulder, too.But Sanchez said he is in a better position now.(In 2010), I didnt have enough time to get it as strong asit needed to be. Thats what we realized later on, said Sanchez, whose surgeryin December, 2009, was undisclosed to the media for nearly two months. Thisyear its a lot stronger. Sanchez had been playing catch three times a week over mostof the winter as he worked through some crankiness. Hes up to five times perweek now, extending out as far as 140 feet. Im throwing as good as I have for awhile, he said.But making throws from second base is a different matter.Perhaps no position requires more throws from as many angles, including thosedifficult plays across the body that put extra strain on the shoulder.Sanchez, 34, said doctors and trainers havent told himwhether he should expect to get back all his previous arm strength. But theywarned him that he probably wouldnt be 100 percent until his one-year anniversaryfrom surgery in August.As long as I can get out there and make throws, Im fine,he said. I wont be out there worrying about it or throwing soft or not divingfor balls. Ideally, Sanchez would get plenty of innings this spring tobuild timing and rapport with shortstop Brandon Crawford. They have startedonly 12 career games together.
BAGGARLY: Can't hit a lick, you say? Not concerning Crawford
At least hitting is not an issue for Sanchez, as it was withhis left shoulder. Sanchez said he could DH the first game of the spring March3. Even if he has to wait a few weeks to begin playing second base, he couldkeep getting at-bats by leading off every inning in minor league scrimmages.

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The promotion of an intriguing prospect can bring a certain buzz to the ballpark. It didn’t last long. 

The debut of Ryder Jones came in the latest flat performance from the Giants, who collapsed late and fell 5-2 to the Mets. The loss was their 50th of the season. They did not lose their 50th game last season until August 12. 

With the score tied in the eighth, Curtis Granderson crushed a leadoff triple into the alley. Sam Dyson walked the next batter and then whiffed Yoenis Cespedes, but Jay Bruce greeted Steven Okert with an RBI single to right. It kept going poorly from there. 

Here are five things to know from a cool day by the water … 

—- Jones grounded out to second in his first at-bat and then flied out to center, grounded out to first, and grounded out to second. He had one chance in the field, starting a double play that ended the second inning.  

—- Johnny Cueto seems to have turned a corner. Over his past two starts, he has allowed just three earned runs over 14 innings. Whether they trade him or not, the Giants certainly could use a nice little hot streak for the next six weeks. 

—- A few seconds after Bruce Bochy shook Cueto’s hand, Brandon Belt got him off the hook for a loss. He hit the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh into the seats in left-center, tying the game. The homer was Belt’s 14th. He’s on pace for 29. 

—- The Mets got eight one-run innings out of Jacob deGrom, who is quietly the most reliable of a star-studded rotation. He struck out seven and gave up just four hits. 

—- If Madison Bumgarner wants another Silver Slugger Award, he’ll have to chase down deGrom, who hit a homer in his last start. His single in the third was his 10th hit, and he finished the day with a .294 average.