SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez said "anxious is an understatement" as he still seeks to rejoin his teammates on the field. Giants manager Bruce Bochy is getting alittle impatient, too.Its important now that the pace picks up here a bit, so wehave him ready, said Bochy, after Sanchez participated in portions ofWednesdays workout. Itd be nice to have him ready by the third week ofspring so we can get him some at-bats, whether hes DHing or playing a fewinnings here of there. Sanchezs rehab work from right shoulder surgery had taken adetour on Tuesday, after his lower back flared up during a short-hop drill aday earlier. He said his back was improved Wednesday and he actually took a step forward, throwing to first base after fielding ground balls.Its the first time the 2006 NL batting champion has thrown to bases since June 10, whenhe dislocated his shoulder while diving for a ball up the middle. A much biggertest will come when Sanchez takes full infield practice with his teammates,turning double plays and throwing across his body. Not sure about double plays and all those things, Sanchezsaid. I havent been on the field with a team, really, since the injury. Soitll take awhile to get my rhythm with the bat and defense. But theres plentyof time to get ready.Sanchez also must take time to become accustomed toshortstop Brandon Crawford; the middle-infield duo have started just 11 careergames together. Sanchez went down just two weeks after Crawfords suddenpromotion from Single-A San Jose. You always talk about defense up the middle, Bochy said. Itsthe old adage: Every good club is strong up the middle. Thats why we haveCrawford as our shortstop and we hope Freddy will be ready. But if not, wellhave some good options with (Mike) Fontenot, (Emmanuel) Burriss and (Ryan) Theriot.Well have a good defender there.We still have a month, so were hoping Freddy will be outthere, and in another week to 10 days, he can begin doing some work out therewith Crawford. Sanchez said anxious is an understatement to describe howmuch hes looking forward to being cleared for full activities especially turningdouble plays with Crawford.Itll be good to work with him, Fontenot, Theriot, Burriss,all those guys, to get our feeds down, Sanchez said. Theres not a shortstophe reminds me of, but hes just real smooth out there. He makes it look easy.Hes a great young player and he definitely picks it. Im excited to startturning some double plays.
Mired in a big slump, rookie Christian Arroyo is getting a night off, while Nick Hundley is catching in place of Buster Posey Saturday.
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Tyler Flowers (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Danny Santana (S) 3B
9. Mike Foltynewicz (R) P
San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
3. Joe Panik (L) 2B
4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Aaron Hill (R) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Ty Blach (R) P
SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.
At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs.
“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said.
The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still.
The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper.
“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”
That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league.
Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored.
“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”