Turning two still a major concern for Sanchez

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Turning two still a major concern for Sanchez

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. In a sobering acknowledgment, secondbaseman Freddy Sanchez said his repaired right shoulder would be an ongoingconcern all season.

And the Giants are already making tweaks to their infielddefense to accommodate it.

Ill have my ups and downs, said Sanchez on Thursday,after taking full infield practice including relays and cutoff throws forthe first time this spring. Thats just how its going to be all year. Therewill be tightness and soreness. Thats just part of the process.

The Giants are planning around it. Manager Bruce Bochy saidthe infield would adjust its alignment, shifting shortstop Brandon Crawford tobe the cutoff man on throws not just to left field or center, but also toright-center field.

REWIND: Sanchez ramps up throwing to prepare for return

Bochy also challenged Sanchez to be less tentative when hetakes infield again on Friday.

I was honest with him, Bochy said. I thought he was alittle hesitant, which he appreciated. He knows he wasnt quite 100 percent.But he felt good and he made the pivot, which is (a hurdle) he had to jump.Its like Buster (Posey, and his ankle). Its a matter of going out and doingit, and finding out, Hey, Im OK.

Bochy said itd be nice to start Sanchez at second base inone of Saturdays split-squad games. The manager later hedged that statement,saying he would put it at 5050 whether Sanchez makes his debut in the fieldon that date.

What does Bochy want to see?

The strength, the good, free movement, Bochy said. He wasthrowing, but not like he normally does. I just want to see Freddy (closer) towhere he normally throws. Today, he made the throws. But hell tell you hesnot quite ready.

Sanchez said he did not think he was being overly cautious,but he found Bochys critique constructive.

I was glad he told me that, Sanchez said. When otherpeople see it, its good to hear. Because once that hesitancy is gone, itll bea great sign. The more reps, the better, the easier it will be.

Sanchez disclocated his shoulder while diving for a ground ballon June 10 and had surgery in August to stabilize the capsule. He and theGiants knew all through his rehab that turning the pivot and throwing acrosshis body would be the biggest test in the spring.

For a team built on pitching and defense, Sanchezscompromised shoulder looms as a significant issue.

I need to get more on the ball, he said. Thats going totake time. Ive got to use my legs more than my arm to get something on theball.

Definitely, for the first time taking infield, its goingto take some time to get over the initial feel of it. It was a good start towork on my footwork as I make throws all the way to first.

Would the Giants consider practicing trick plays whenSanchez has to glove a ball up the middle, perhaps flipping to Crawford to makethe throw to first base?

Naw, Bochy said. If we start getting tricky, were introuble here.

But Sanchez said he wouldnt have an problem yielding toCrawford on more cutoff plays.

That can be done easily, Sanchez said.

In the meantime, Sanchez is trying to get his timing back atthe plate. He made his spring debut at DH last Friday and hit in that slotagain Thursday night. He also picked up five at-bats in minor league camp onWednesday, but he isnt squaring up the ball yet.

The long-term concern isnt Sanchezs bat, but his arm.

The more I throw, the stronger I get, he said. But if Itake a real aggressive (day), itll be sore regardless. The last couple daysits been great.

If Sanchez goes down or sustains a setback, the Giants would turn to Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot or Emmanuel Burriss. Brett Pill spent time at second base at Triple-A Fresno last season, but is considered a candidate to play there only in emergency situations.

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.”