Vizquel comes off DL, starts at short
Giants manager says veteran will stabilize infield
SAN FRANCISCO -- As expected, shortstop Omar Vizquel was activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday and returned to the Giants' lineup.Vizquel, who had been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic surgery Feb. 22 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, is likely to alternate between the second and eighth spots in the batting order. He hit second Saturday, partly due to the presence of Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer in the opposing lineup. Although it's generally accepted that Vizquel is behind offensively due to his inactivity, Moyer's not a hard thrower. Moreover, Vizquel entered the game with a career average of .373 (22-for-59) against Moyer. "He's seen Moyer as much as anybody on this club," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "[Moyer] is tough on anybody, but he's more difficult on young players." With the Giants riding a five-game losing streak, Bochy hopes that Vizquel's arrival will help stimulate the ballclub and provide an example for younger infielders such as Eugenio Velez and Emmanuel Burriss. "The way [Vizquel] has played the game, with calmness and confidence, he's going to stabilize the infield," Bochy said. On Friday, Vizquel admitted that he might need some time to reassimilate himself with the team. He has spent little time with the ballclub, having spent weeks rehabilitating his knee in extended Spring Training in Arizona. The 41-year-old also played five games with Triple-A Fresno and Class A San Jose in a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment this past week. "I haven't been with the team for a while. It looks like you're kind of lost," Vizquel said. "The guys have been together since Spring Training; now I'm trying to fit again with the team." Burriss, who went 3-for-4 Friday night while playing shortstop, was to make his second Major League start at second base. "It's hard not to have him back out there after what he did yesterday," Bochy said. In injury-related developments, Bochy said that second baseman Ray Durham, who has not started a game since May 2 due to a pulled right hamstring, would be available to pinch-hit. Bochy also revealed that right-hander Merkin Valdez, who has excelled in 16 relief appearances (1.15 ERA), has experienced tightness in his throwing forearm, explaining why he hasn't pitched since Tuesday in Pittsburgh. But Valdez was expected to be available Saturday. Bochy noted that Valdez's ailment was not related to the Tommy John elbow surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2007 season.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.