09/09/11 10:38 PM ET
Affeldt's season over after hand injury
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
Affeldt hurt his hand while slicing frozen burgers in his backyard, and the paring knife cut down to the bone in his lower right palm and caused nerve damage, leaving him without feeling in his right pinky in what Giants manager Bruce Bochy an "unfortunate accident." Although the injury was in his non-throwing hand, continuing to pitch could cause further long-term damage.
Affeldt told The Associated Press he had just come in from swimming with his kids when he began cutting the frozen burgers, coming within a millimeter of an artery, and two friends at his home, both emergency medical technicians, immediately applied pressure to the wound and took him to the hospital, where he underwent surgery Thursday night.
"I should have used hot water," Affeldt said in a phone interview with the AP. "If I had used a butter knife, nothing would have happened. The burger was coming loose and to wiggle it loose I used the knife and it pushed through the burger and right through my hand. It was not a slice, it's an actual stab. ... If it had been a serrated knife, I could have done more damage.
"I'm very thankful it was my right hand," he continued. "I said, 'Can I pitch the rest of the year?' They said I could squeeze a glove fine but even if I was playing catch and the ball hits me in the palm there, in the long run it could make the hand weak. In day-to-day life I could be holding a cup and not be able to keep a hold on it."
The lefty reliever has a $5 million club option for 2012 with a $500,000 buyout. After a down year in 2010, Affeldt mostly returned to his 2009 form this season, owning a 2.63 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in 67 appearances while recording more than twice as many strikeouts (54) as walks (24).
Affeldt's 2.21 ERA since the All-Star break is the seventh lowest among National League relievers, and his .144 average against left-handed hitters is the third lowest in the Majors among pitchers with more than 75 batters faced.
"I know it's a freak injury," Affeldt told the AP. "It could have been a lot worse. I feel really bad. I know Brian Sabean, Bochy and the coaching staff and players have been dealing with freak injuries all year and I feel bad I added to it."
Zito could return to action soon
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost one left-hander for the rest of the season in Jeremy Affeldt, but they might be adding another southpaw to the active roster as soon as Saturday.
Barry Zito will take part in pitchers' fielding practice Saturday afternoon and could be activated immediately if he passes that test, adding another left-handed arm to make up for the loss of Affeldt, who had surgery Thursday after cutting his right hand. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Zito could help "anywhere" when asked if the former Cy Young Award winner would be sent to the bullpen.
"It'd help out," Bochy said. "He would give us another arm."
Zito was not with the Giants on Friday for personal reasons.
The outlook doesn't look quite so good for former rotation mate Jonathan Sanchez, still out with a high left ankle sprain.
Bochy said Sanchez will not try to throw this weekend, and every time the lefty has thrown off the mound, his ankle swells up.
Schierholtz forced to rest broken foot
SAN FRANCISCO -- Outfielder Nate Schierholtz, out since Aug. 22 with a fractured right foot, will be in a walking boot for at least another week and might not return this season.
Schierholtz visited Dr. Thomas Clanton, a foot specialist in Vail, Colo., to get another opinion, and the news wasn't good. Clanton said the bone is basically fractured in a spot where the tendons are pulling it apart, and the fact that Schierholtz continued to play on his injured foot almost a full week after sustaining the injury certainly didn't help matters.
"He confirmed that I set myself back a lot the week I played on it," Schierholtz said. "Maybe if I stayed off it, I'd be back by now."
Now, Schierholtz has to completely rest his foot. He had been doing cardiovascular exercises to stay active, but he can't even do that now as he allows his foot time to heal.
"I'm not happy about this," said Schierholtz, who was enjoying the best season of his career before heading to the 15-day disabled list.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said it was "up in the air" if Schierholtz would be able to get back on the field this season. If he remains in a boot for close to two weeks, there likely won't be sufficient time for Schierholtz to take enough swings to feel comfortable at the plate.
Torres plans to adjust in winter ball
SAN FRANCISCO -- A year removed from winning the Willie Mac Award and authoring his own incredible comeback story en route to a breakout season, Andres Torres has been forced to take on a different tone.
The energetic switch-hitter is batting just .222 on the year, and there are doubts about whether Torres will return to the leadoff spot next season. Recently promoted outfielder Justin Christian has started the last three games atop the order, while Torres is hitless in his last 12 at-bats.
Torres has just one extra-base hit over his last 22 games and hasn't had a multihit game in his last 26 contests. He has struck out in almost 25 percent of his plate appearances, and the unexpected power he displayed last year -- particularly driving the ball to the opposite field -- has all but disappeared.
But if anyone is willing to own up to his struggles and find a way to work through them, it's Torres.
"To be honest with you, I need to improve. Sometimes you feel bad because you want to do your job," Torres said. "I have to find a way to make adjustments and try to relax.
"This game is about adjustments, and I really have to show that I'm making good adjustments. But be positive. The game is hard, but we have to find a way to find something that works. I never give up, no matter what. Like I said, I'm here. That's the good thing."
Some of those adjustments will take place in December, when Torres plans to play winter ball in his native Puerto Rico. Torres has played winter ball every year of his career except 2010, when the Giants' World Series run severely shortened their offseason.
"I think it's good to play. The only way you get better is playing," Torres said. "It helps. You take some at-bats, make some adjustments, work on things and see what happens."
Closer Brian Wilson (right elbow inflammation) threw 25 pitches off the mound and was "letting it go," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Wilson will get the rest of the weekend off before throwing another bullpen session Monday. At that point, the Giants will re-evaluate Wilson and see if he's ready to throw a simulated inning. Bochy said there was a good chance Wilson will be shut down for the season if the Giants are still far from playoff contention.
"If we think he's fully recovered, it might be important for him to get out there once or twice before the offseason, too," Bochy said. "That's what we'll have to weigh -- which way to go. I know he's doing a whole lot better, and he wants to pitch."
Outfielder Aaron Rowand and infielder Miguel Tejada, designated for assignment Aug. 31 amid disappointing seasons, were both placed on waivers Thursday for purposes of their unconditional release. After designating them, general manager Brian Sabean expressed hope that he would be able to trade them.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.