Since dislocating his shoulder diving for a ball back in June, San Francisco Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez has been putting in his work and then some to ensure that he'll be ready to go come Opening Day 2012. He's been showing lots of progress but still has work to do, and only time will tell now whether or not he'll be a go for the Black and Orange come their first regular season game on April 6.
Sanchez is still to be cleared by the Giants medical staff despite playing catch five times a week, making throws of upwards of 140 feet, having no problems hitting and taking lots of grounders. It's still the athletic throws that a second baseman makes regularly that is worrisome for the Giants, which his arm isn't completely strong enough to handle yet.
CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly spoke with Sanchez on Thursday at the team's Scottsdale Stadium facilities, who was confident that when he gets the OK from team doctors, he'll back raring to go:
"I'm throwing as good as I have for awhile," Sanchez said. "As long as I can get out there and make throws, I'm fine," he said. "I won't be out there worrying about it or throwing soft or not diving for balls."
Sanchez boasted similar confidence back in 2010 when he was coming off of surgery on his other shoulder. He didn't make his first appearance until 38 games into the season, but had World Series ring to show for it anyway by November. This time around it's different, according to Sanchez:
"(In 2010), I didn't have enough time to get it as strong as it needed to be. That's what we realized later on," said Sanchez. "This year it's a lot stronger."
Sanchez could be the DH come the Giants first Cactus League game March 3, and get some at bats in minor league scrimmages as well this Spring before he's ready to take up his mantle at second. He'll need to build some continuity with shortstop Brandon Crawford, whom he's only starting 12 career games alongside.
For more on the Giants, please check out McCovey Chronicles.