SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' lengthy injury list gained an unwelcome addition Friday night as second baseman Freddy Sanchez, one of their top all-around performers, dislocated his right shoulder.Sanchez almost certainly will go on the 15-day disabled list, though the severity of his injury won't be known until he undergoes a MRI on Saturday. Giants manager Bruce Bochy already has steeled himself for the worst.
"Obviously, it's not good news," he said.Sanchez hurt himself as the fifth inning of San Francisco's 3-2 victory over Cincinnati began. He dove to his right for Brandon Phillips' grounder up the middle and gloved it before his momentum caused him to slide several feet on his right side. That extra movement apparently caused the injury to Sanchez, who could be seen howling in pain on television replays as he skidded. Bochy and assistant athletic trainer Mark Gruesbeck hustled out to check Sanchez, who remained prostrate on the outfield grass until they helped him up and led him toward the dugout. "When a guy can't get his words out, I knew it was something serious," said Manny Burriss, who was an eyewitness from his post at shortstop. Sanchez, 33, appeared destined to become the fifth member of San Francisco's Opening Day starting lineup to go on the disabled list. The others were third baseman Pablo Sandoval (fractured right hamate bone), catcher Buster Posey (fracture and torn ankle ligaments in left leg), center fielder Andres Torres (strained left Achilles) and first baseman Brandon Belt (hairline fracture in left wrist). Outfielder Cody Ross (right calf), who likely would have been in the Opening Day lineup, and closer Brian Wilson (strained left side) began the season on the DL. Despite this adversity, the Giants have found a way to scramble into first place in the National League West. "I like to think that we're a pretty tough team," right-hander Sergio Romo said. "Our mentality doesn't waver." Said Bochy, "It's a different group. It's a special group. They don't make excuses. They keep moving forward, and that's all you can do." Who might step forward to replace Sanchez on the roster is unclear, though Burriss likely will become the starting second baseman. Bochy said that neither Sandoval nor infielder Mike Fontenot (left groin), who are in the midst of injury rehabilitation stints with Triple-A Fresno, is ready to leave the DL. No obvious candidates for promotion exist in the upper Minors. Before his departure, Sanchez went 1-for-2 to lift his batting average to .289, tops among active Giants with more than 50 at-bats. He led all National League second basemen with 15 doubles entering Friday. "It's never good to lose a player of the caliber of Freddy Sanchez," Romo said. "You can't replace him. He's been the most consistent guy on our team on both sides of the ball."
Giants ponder some catching for Sandoval
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy admitted Friday that he and the Giants braintrust have considered using Pablo Sandoval occasionally at catcher, a position he hasn't played extensively since 2008.In his daily pregame media briefing, Bochy cited the possibility of playing Sandoval, who's likely to be activated from the disabled list next week, at first base. Bochy then added, "I think he'd be fine behind the plate, too. Don't think we haven't discussed that. It's not something we've ruled out." In fact, Bochy said that he and San Francisco's other key decision-makers might raise the subject among themselves again, particularly with Buster Posey sidelined for the season. Bochy emphasized that Sandoval probably would catch about twice a week, if he were to catch at all. Sandoval himself has expressed no desire to return behind the plate. Sandoval caught in 83 of 112 games for high-Class A San Jose and Double-A Connecticut in 2008 before he was promoted to the Giants in mid-August. He caught 11 games for San Francisco that season and three in 2009. Bochy expressed the belief that Sandoval would need only a game or two to "get the feeling back" of catching. Sandoval is currently testing his surgically repaired right hand on a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Fresno.
Speier gives Crawford stamp of approval
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Speier, one of the most accomplished shortstops in Giants history, formed a positive first impression of Brandon Crawford when he watched the rookie man his former position in Thursday's San Francisco-Cincinnati series opener.Crawford recorded four assists and one putout, hardly an unusual performance. But he did enough to capture the attention of Speier, Cincinnati's bench coach. "He looked really polished," said Speier, the only Giants shortstop besides Alvin Dark to make as many as three All-Star teams. "Sometimes you see younger guys who move fast. He doesn't. He slows the game down a little bit. He has good actions." Crawford also has jersey No. 35, which Speier wore during his first Giants tenure (1971-77). Rich Aurilia also distinguished himself at shortstop while wearing the same number.
"We're just kind of passing it down," Speier said.
Tejada's surge could pose puzzle for Bochy
SAN FRANCISCO -- If Miguel Tejada maintains his recent performance level, Giants manager Bruce Bochy might have to resort to creative means to keep him in the lineup once Pablo Sandoval is activated from the disabled list.Tejada entered Friday batting .223 overall. But he owned a season-high six-game hitting streak, during which he was batting .320 (8-for-25), and he extended it to seven games with a first-inning double Friday. Tejada might have to keep hitting to force Bochy's hand. "As far as what we're going to do on a consistent basis, I won't know until Pablo gets back," Bochy said Friday.
Sandoval, playing with Triple-A Fresno on an injury rehabilitation assignment to test his surgically repaired right hand, is expected to rejoin the Giants during their June 14-16 series at Arizona.Third base will belong to Sandoval, thus displacing Tejada, who made two outstanding plays while manning third Thursday night. Bochy already has said that rookie Brandon Crawford will continue to receive significant playing time at shortstop. So returning Tejada to that spot, where he has started 27 games, appears unlikely. Bochy mentioned that Sandoval conceivably could play a game or two each week at first base to rest Aubrey Huff, thus vacating third base for Tejada. Tejada has never played first base, second base or the outfield during his 15-year Major League career.
Left-hander Dan Runzler, a reliever with the Giants, started Thursday for Triple-A Fresno and worked 3 2/3 shutout innings. Bochy said that Runzler conceivably could provide valuable depth if he proves capable of starting. ... Bochy said that outfielder Darren Ford (left ankle) received a cortisone shot, which will delay his recovery a couple of days. Infielder Mike Fontenot (left groin), who is rehabilitating with Fresno, could rejoin the Giants along with Sandoval, Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.