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09/06/09 1:38 PM ET
Giants put hot-hitting Uribe at cleanup
Utility man will stay in lineup even when Sanchez returns
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- At first glance, seeing a cleanup hitter with a career .255 average and .723 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) looks like a symptom of a team searching for any answer to its lean offensive production. But Juan Uribe has become indispensable, forcing his way into the lineup and into a prominent role. Batting fourth for the first time all season, Uribe entered Sunday's game in Milwaukee with six home runs in his previous 19 games, batting .288 over that stretch. His home run Saturday proved crucial in a 3-2 victory. "Juan has been through it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Saturday's game. "He's been on a World Series team. We knew in Spring Training that we were getting a good player, but until you watch on a daily basis, you don't appreciate the things that he can do and how versatile he is. When he gets hot, he can carry a ballclub. He's got power." Bochy said there was no way he could take Uribe from the lineup when second baseman Freddy Sanchez returned from a rehab assignment Monday. That would necessitate playing Uribe at third base and shifting Pablo Sandoval to first base -- where he's only played 18 games. "[Uribe's] our hottest hitter right now," Bochy said Sunday. Usual cleanup hitter Bengie Molina was given Sunday's game off, spelled by backup catcher Eli Whiteside. Top prospect catcher Buster Posey had still not seen his first big league game action heading into the series finale with Milwaukee. Sanchez had another hit in three at-bats Saturday for Triple-A Fresno, and he was scheduled to join the Giants for the first of three games against San Diego on Monday.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.