Giants pick up infielder Fontenot from Cubs
Veteran bolsters bench; Minor Leaguer sent to Chicago
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants filled a need for infield depth Wednesday by acquiring Mike Fontenot from the Chicago Cubs for Minor League outfielder Evan Crawford.San Francisco also placed shortstop Edgar Renteria on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left biceps, which increased the club's need for Fontenot. In fact, injuries and ineffectiveness have stricken the Giants' infield much of the year. Besides Renteria, Juan Uribe has been bothered by a tight right hamstring and second baseman Freddy Sanchez and third baseman Pablo Sandoval have struggled at the plate. A left-handed batter, Fontenot could complement right-handed batters Uribe, Sanchez and, when he regains his health, Renteria. Switch-hitting Emmanuel Burriss has credentials similar to Fontenot's but possesses less experience. This marked the third consecutive year in which a trade forced a player to change clubhouses at AT&T Park. In 2008, second baseman Ray Durham emptied his Giants dressing stall to join the Milwaukee Brewers on the getaway day of a weekend series. Last year, second baseman Freddy Sanchez moved from Pittsburgh's quarters to San Francisco's. This time, witnesses were treated to the sight of a Giants clubhouse attendant filling a cart with Fontenot's belongings. Wearing blue Cubs workout shorts, Fontenot joked that he had better tug on his jeans before relocating to the Giants' side. "It's been a strange day so far, just coming to the field, getting the work in and everything and coming up from the stairs after hitting, and they brought me in the office after hitting to let me know," Fontenot said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to play here. I've been keeping up with baseball as much as anybody else does and knowing that the Giants are in the thick of it really gets you pumped up."
Fontenot, 30, is batting .284 with one home run and 20 RBIs in 75 games. He started 40 games for Chicago, including 29 at second base, seven at third base and four at shortstop. Acquired by the Cubs in the trade that sent Sammy Sosa to Baltimore in 2005, Fontenot is a .269 lifetime hitter in 422 games.Fontenot summarized his status like the true utility man he is.
"Whenever they need me to come in and get a hit or what they need me to do, I'm going to be able to do that," he said.Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that he might give Fontenot some playing time at second base as an alternative to Sanchez, whose .257 average entering Wednesday was 42 points below the career average he took into this season.
"I could, depending on how it goes," Bochy said. "[Fontenot] can play some third, double-switch, things like that."Asked whether Fontenot could play shortstop regularly, Bochy said, "It'd be a spot thing." Fontenot unwittingly raised his stock in the first two games of this series. Monday, his quick relay home apprehended Travis Ishikawa in the 10th inning and temporarily preserved a tie. The Giants won an inning later, 4-3. Tuesday, Fontenot's pinch-hit, two-run double off Guillermo Mota extended Chicago's lead to 8-4 in the eighth inning. Fontenot's contribution proved essential, since the Giants scored twice in the ninth. "I wish I had him a day before," Bochy said. Crawford, 22, was the Giants' ninth-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He was hitting .255 with four home runs, 29 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 109 games for San Francisco's Class A Augusta affiliate.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.