Sanchez has quiet debut, may start at second base Monday


Sanchez has quiet debut, may start at second base Monday

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- "Whats up with that?"Thats how Freddy Sanchez responded after being asked why Buster Posey receivedall of the attention Friday in Scottsdale, despite both making their springdebuts after long injury layoffs.Sanchez was obviously being sarcastic, but its a valid question.While Posey is much more eligible to be the face of the franchise thanSanchez, both are important parts of a Giants offense in need of resuscitation.Coming off shoulder surgery, Sanchez served as the GiantsDH Friday and went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout, batting in his usual second spotin the lineup.

In his first at bat against Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, Sanchez couldntcatch up to the heat and struck out looking.Sanchez flew out in the third inning, then recorded his first spring hit with aflare just over the shortstops head into left field in the 5thinning. His day came to a close with a seventh inning pop out to second basemanHenry Rodriguez.When asked how he felt about his debut, Sanchez said that he was a littleanxious."I just wanted to go out there and not embarrass myself," he said.The verdict?"I dont know. I saw a couple of my swings today. Mythumbs still hurting from that little blooper I got in there," Sanchez said.While Sanchez may not be completely satisfied with hisperformance, manager Bruce Bochy was just happy to see him in a game and ishoping to pencil Sanchez in at second base on Monday."Freddys not far," Bochy said. "Wed like to see him playing second. Hes beentaking ground balls and hell DH tomorrow in Tempe and then we will evaluatehim. Theres a good chance Monday hell be playing second."Sanchez said hes looking forward to the opportunity to do more than just hit. "It was nice to get out there and hit, but once I can get onthe field and play defense again, thatll be the big step," Sanchez said. "Ifeel like Im getting better each day and its just going to take time for myshoulder to get stronger."

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


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


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.