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04/14/08 11:20 PM ET
Vizquel targets return date
Shortstop hopes to return to lineup on April 24 birthday
By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel is hoping to give himself a nice birthday present that would cost him nothing, and would mean a lot to the Giants. Vizquel, recovering from left knee surgery, turns 41 on April 24 and he'd love to make it back into the lineup on that day. "Maybe that'll be the day," Vizquel smiled as he sat in front of his locker before the Giants' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night. "I don't want to play one day and then be hurt and sit out a day or two. I want to come back here and be ready to play every day." Vizquel underwent surgery Feb. 27 to remove a torn meniscus and has been experiencing soreness in his knee which has slowed his progress. On Monday, Vizquel tried to jog on the field but had to stop when he felt something in his knee. "It wasn't right," Vizquel said. "Taking grounders is fine. The sideways movement is fine. But I can't do anything else. I can't even go to a movie theater. I've been home watching a lot of television." Vizquel hasn't been able to even paint, one of his favorite pastimes. He's able to draw, however, and has a lot of new stuff. It's one of the few activities which keeps him calm. "I miss being on the field," he said. "I'm going crazy. When I'm here, I start jumping around. When I'm watching at home, I have to turn it off for awhile." It's been a series of starts and stops for Vizquel, who was originally scheduled to return sometime this week. He played in a Minor League game at the end of March, but he developed a bone bruise and it's been a case of hit or miss ever since. "I know he's disappointed that his rehab hasn't gone as smoothly as he'd like," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got to hang in there and be patient. He'll come around at some point." Vizquel wishes it would come sooner rather than later. Should his recovery linger into months, he's not sure he could handle it. "That would be devastating to me," he said. "Both bones are bruised and it's costing me. It will be hard to be the same as I was last year for sure. I have to wear a brace for two or three weeks that would limit my range." He doesn't think a move to second base would be of any help either. "I have no business at second base," said Vizquel, whose experience at second is limited to one inning of an All-Star Game. "I can probably play second base, but I don't want to." The Giants would like him back at shortstop, too.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.