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.
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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.