by Michelle Dingley
The roster moves continue for the injury-plagued Giants. On Thursday, utility player Mark DeRosa has been activated off the DL. He is expected to play all around the infield, but mostly at first base. DeRosa has endured several wrist injuries over the last two seasons, greatly limiting his playing time and benching him for the entire 2010 postseason. In his most recent rehab assignment, DeRosa hit .307 over 11 games, 2 with San Jose and 9 with Fresno. DeRosa is back on the Giants because his rehab time has simply ran out. (Players are allotted 20 days on a rehab assignment.) During Spring Training, many Giants commentators expected DeRosa to be a big part of the team, getting 400-500 at-bats while playing at several positions. (An everyday player amasses around 600 ABs in a season.) In 18 games for the major league team this year, DeRosa was batting .162 with a .225 OBP, 0 homers and 3 RBI, while struggling with his wrist. After his most recent injury, some thought he would never play again, at least not at the major league level. Hopefully DeRosa is healthy and will stay that way for a long time.
To make room for Mark DeRosa on the 25-man roster, Brandon Belt is moved back to Fresno yet again. In the offseason, Brian Sabean repeatedly stated that he did not want to bring Belt up to the majors unless he was going to stay up; even then, Sabean thought Belt should only be on the San Francisco roster if he was going to play every day. Sabean did not want Belt to yo-yo up and down between the majors and minors. Things haven’t gone as planned. Belt made the opening day roster, mostly due to the injury to Cody Ross. Belt had a disappointing start to the season with the bat. When Ross was activated off the DL, Belt was sent down. This just happened to be on April 20, Brandon’s birthday. After a series of injuries to the Giants’ lineup in late May, Belt got the call again. In his second game back with the Giants, he was sidelined after a pitch hit and broke his wrist. After rehabbing and playing inFresno, where he earned PCL Player of the Week honors, he again got the call on July 19. Since that time, Belt made a few starts but was mostly stuck in the pinch-hitter role. In the minors this year, he is hitting .335, with a .475 OBP, 7 HR and 33 RBI in 47 games. In the majors, he’s managed a .218 average, with .322 OBP, 2 HR and 7 RBI in 31 games. Belt will get more consistent playing time in Fresno, which will probably benefit him more than sitting on major-league pine. He will definitely return to the majors again this year, likely when the roster expands in September.
Freddy Sanchez will not return to the Giants this year. The second baseman had season-ending surgery on Tuesday. He dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum on June 10 when diving for a grounder. Freddy opted to delay the surgery, hoping that rehab could enable him to rejoin the team before the end of the season. From earlier reports, it appeared that he was doing fairly well. He was swinging the bat well, but throwing remained a problem. The surgery was successful, and Freddy is expected to be ready to play by Spring Training.
After Freddy was injured, Bill Hall was signed to take his spot. In early July, Hall was spiked by a runner sliding into second base, placing him on the DL. The Giants then signed Jeff Keppinger to take over at second. Hall was eventually released by San Franciscoto open a roster spot for Carlos Beltran. Hall has since cleared waivers and joined the Fresno Grizzlies. He has been playing on the Triple-A team since August 2.
Buster Posey is yet another Giant that will spend the rest of the year on the DL. He had successful surgery on July 22 to remove the screws that were stabilizing his ankle. Buster has been working with the Giants’ trainers on some light rehab, but he has not been able to put pressure on the ankle. He will be able to use crutches soon. Buster is a long way off from playing ball, but he is on track to be ready for Spring Training.
Barry Zito has been sent back to the DL with a reappearance of the foot sprain that sidelined him in April. It has been reported that Zito fouled a ball off his foot. It causes him discomfort when he pushes off when pitching, and it also hurts when he runs. This injury comes on the heels of three consecutive poor starts. Over these 3 starts, he has a 0-3 record with a 10.91 ERA. Zito was tagged for 21 hits including 6 home runs, surrendering 8 walks against 11 strikeouts over those last 15 2/3 innings.
Taking Zito’s spot in the rotation is Jonathan Sanchez, who is coming off of a rehab stint of his own. Zito’s injury comes suspiciously close to Sanchez’s activation off the DL. In three minor league rehab starts, Sanchez earned a 1-0 record with 6.59 ERA over 13 2/3 innings, walking 7 and striking out 16, with opponents hitting .302 against him. That includes a very poor start for San Jose. In his two starts for Fresno, his ERA is reduced to 3.27, with opponents hitting .256. Sanchez will start for the Giants on Friday in game 2 against the Phillies. The last time he faced them was in game 6 of the NLCS. On that day, he went only 2 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 runs, walking two and fanning one. Sanchez had little control of his arm and even less of his emotions, completely losing his composure after hitting Chase Utley. Utley tossed the ball back to Sanchez, words were exchanged, and the benches emptied. Utley had the day off on Thursday, so he should be fresh for a rematch on Friday. Sanchez had better be ready as well.