Giants

Fontenot cut, Vogelsong, Sanchez and Runzler to DL

682458.jpg

Fontenot cut, Vogelsong, Sanchez and Runzler to DL

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Giants cut a player from their 2010World Series team and placed four others on the disabled list as theycontinued to shape their opening-day roster.

In addition to placing infielder Mike Fontenot on releasewaivers, the Giants placed second baseman Freddy Sanchez on the disabled listalong with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, left-hander Eric Surkamp and left-hander Dan Runzler.

NEWS: Giants waive Fontenot

Sanchez (right shoulder), Surkamp (strained flexor tendon) and Runzler (strained lat muscle) areretroactive to March 26, meaning they could be eligible to return by thefifth game of the season on April 11. None of the three players is expected to be ready bythat date, however.

Vogelsong (strained lower back) is on the mend but didnthave enough time to rebuild arm strength after missing the first three weeks ofthe spring. The plan is to activate him on April 15, when the Giants need afifth starter for the first time.

Sanchez has begun playing catch after getting a cortisoneshot in his repaired right shoulder on Sunday. But there remains no timetableto try making throws to bases in infield practice as a precursor to playing inthe field. Sanchez hasnt been able to throw with much zip or attempt the morestrenuous, across-the-body throws that are required of a second baseman whenturning double plays.

Fontenot came over in a trade from the Chicago Cubs in themiddle of the 2010 season and hit .227 as a part-time player last year. The31-year-old was deemed expendable because the Giants already have too manyleft-handed hitters and they dont expect to need much coverage behind BrandonCrawford, who is slated to be the everyday shortstop.

The Giants cut Fontenot on the last possible day before his1.05 million contract would become fully guaranteed. The Giants areresponsible for just a quarter of that amount, saving themselves 787,500.

The club faced the same deadline with Ryan Theriot, Fontenotsteammate at LSU and with the Cubs. But although Theriots best defensive daysat shortstop are behind him, his right-handed bat was a better fit for theGiants bench needs. Theriot will make 1.25 million this season.

Cutting Fontenot might clear the way for the Giants to carrya third catcher in Hector Sanchez, who has been the best offensive player incamp. A third catcher would allow the Giants to better pace Buster Posey in theearly going as he comes back from his horrific ankle injury. It will be morelikely that manager Bruce Bochy can take Posey out of blowout games early or pinch-runfor him if he has a third catcher. Plus Sanchezs switch-hitting bat would be aboon for the bench.

Even with Freddy Sanchez out indefinitely, the Giants feltthey had enough middle infield depth without Fontenot. One factor in thatanalysis is non-roster infielder Joaquin Arias, who has played extremely wellat every infield position this spring. Even if Arias begins the season atTriple-A Fresno, the Giants feel good about having him for insurance.

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

bell-ginats-slide-cardinals-2002.jpg
AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

baker-dusty-kid.jpg
AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.