Tag: Emmanuel Burriss

Freddy Sanchez Injury: Emmanuel Burriss Should Start If Sanchez Is DL’d

According to CSNBayArea.com, San Francisco Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez is almost certain to start the 2012 season on the disabled list. Not surprising, given his slow progress in regaining full health following surgery for his season-ending shoulder injury last year.

The crux of the issue in Sanchez’s road to recovery is indeed his arm strength. Having sustained a ruptured labrum in his right shoulder, the rehabilitation to recapturing his throwing velocity is indeed taking longer than anticipated. But it’s not entirely unexpected, considering the severity of the injury.

As a result, the Giants have found themselves at a minor fork in the road, and will likely take the route of placing Sanchez on the DL to start the season, according to MercuryNews.com.

This is debilitating news for San Francisco, who had hoped that Sanchez would be able to take the field at second base sometime sooner rather than later. Alas, Sanchez has yet to find the confidence in his right shoulder to play second base in a spring game, and he’s been fairly limited when it comes to taking infield practice.

As such, there remains no timetable to get him some action at second. Says manager Bruce Bochy, “…if he can’t go out there and play defense, the best thing to do is start him on the DL.”

Nothing is set in stone, and it’s possible that through some magic healing powers he could be ready by Opening Day. Realistically, the Giants are anticipating being without their starting second baseman for a decent amount of time.

In the event that Sanchez does not make the Opening Day roster, Bochy has clouded vision for which player could be his Sanchez’ replacement. Who would start in Sanchez’s stead?

According to Owen Perkins of MLB.com, San Francisco has fielded six different second basemen this spring, with Emmanuel Burris, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot leading the way in appearances and innings played. Theriot and Fontenot have the upper hand in big league exposure—Theriot is in his eighth season in the majors, and Fontenot is in his seventh.  

Burriss, is the younger pup, with only 222 games under his belt, only 56 at second base. But he has been raking the ball this spring, sporting a robust .464 batting average in 13 games.

With such a scoring showing in training camp, Burriss definitely secures a roster spot—either as a backup middle infielder or as the starting second baseman pro tempore. Burriss’ speed would be a significant infusion in the lineup that is somewhat slow.

Placing Burriss towards the top of the order behind Angel Pagan could provide a dynamic 1-2 punch. Plus, his versatility as a switch-hitter is an added bonus.

However, based on past experience, it would appear that Theriot or Fontenot would get the nod over Burriss. The Giants are keen on keeping one of them as a backup middle infielder—at least one of them. Now, with Sanchez destined for the DL, the likelihood that both are on the Opening Day roster increases.

It’s hard to pick which of the two would be a better candidate to start at second base. Theriot has a career .987 fielding percentage at second base. Meanwhile, Fontenot owns a .981 career fielding percentage at the position. Both are fundamentally more sound on defense than Burriss, who produced a .972 overall fielding percentage last season.

Yet it is Theriot whose job security is undetermined. The 32-year-old is in a precarious situation. If he remains on the roster on March 29th, San Francisco will owe him his full $1.25 million contract that he signed as a free agent this past winter. However, if the Giants release him prior, they only have to pay him one fourth of that amount.

Still, with Sanchez’s indefinite recovery, it’s almost necessary that the Giants keep all three infielders—Burriss, Fontenot and Theriot. Especially when considering that penciled-in starting shortstop Brandon Crawford is only in his second big-league season, and, as a left-handed hitter, will likely sit out against left-handed pitching.

Which bodes well for the right-handed hitting Theriot.

With all of the uncertainty surrounding Sanchez, the race for backup middle infielders becomes more clouded. It’s undecided as to who will start in Sanchez’ place if he were to land on the disabled list.

But it’s becoming more evident that San Francisco will have to have that many able-bodied infielders to man the middle for the time being—or at least until Sanchez is ready to resume the full-time role.

Which could be a while.

With all that said, the Giants should insert Burriss, who’s wielding a sizzling bat this spring, into the Opening Day lineup as the starting second baseman. Should he falter in any way, Fontenot and Theriot are formidable options to platoon.


Follow me on Twitter: @nathanieljue

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

SF Giants: Five September Call-ups Who Could Impact Their Playoff Run

The San Francisco Giants appear to be making a serious run at the playoffs, especially in the NL Wild Card race.

With Sept. 1 just a few days away, here are five September call-ups who could push the Giants over the edge, securing them a spot in the postseason.  

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San Francisco Giants Making Guarantees With Unlikely Heroes, Fresh Faces

It is not a show on Broadway, although it entertains you like one. Nor is it a Shakespearean tragedy, yet it is rich in suspense and drama. It is the second half of the 2010 season in San Francisco.

This weekend, the biggest series of the Giants regular season is set to take place.

Taking the hill tonight for San Francisco is none other than Mr. Guarantee himself, Jonathan Sanchez. The same pitcher who earlier in the week called a three-game sweep of the first place San Diego Padres.

Tonight, he will have to walk the walk—trying to avoid walking too many Padres in the process. Sanchez’s bold statement drew the ire of the Padres and his fellow teammates.

Baseball is a game of ethics and sportsmanship.

In the eyes of many baseball purists, such a guarantee just will not inherit. While Sanchez can be dominating at times, he has not been the kind of awesome force that you would expect or respect bold predictions from.

With an 8-7 record, Sanchez will have to get it done between the lines. He already has a reputation for unraveling mentally once things start to go awry for him. You have to wonder, is this mere enthusiasm? False bravado?

Or has Jonathan Sanchez finally acquired the mind-set that will finally elevate him into the next tier of talented starting pitching?

Time will tell. A very short time—tonight will either solidify and validate his resolve, or shatter an already shaky ego and ensure another downward spiral for the young lefty.

By Sunday, we will know if the Giants are indeed the real deal in the NL West, or a spunky group of fierce water treaders.

The Chicago Cubs gave the Giants a scare in every game of the four-game series that concluded with a Giants win Thursday.

The Cubs, who have nothing left to play for did not lay down. Their manager is away from the team, they are shedding players right and left, and yet they fought like real contenders in this series.

The Giants needed exactly what the Cubs gave. They needed to know they could pitch when it mattered and drive in key runs.

Some will say the Giants underachieved and barely got by a mediocre team at best. I believe the Giants got a real opportunity to answer some tough questions about themselves.

While it was not a four-game sweep, or landslide victory in any of the four games, it was a chance for the Giants to build on themselves.

Imagine losing three of four to Cubs heading into this weekend’s series. Lose three out of four to Chicago and limp in to the clash with the Padres and you might as well kiss the playoffs goodbye.

Pat Burrell, Pat Burrell, and more Pat Burrell.

Although the Giants did not break camp with Burrell in the spring, they are sure glad they kicked the tires on the veteran slugger. I was at the park yesterday, yards away from the foul pole that Burrell clanged his fifth inning grand slam—it was magic.

It has been years since a guy not wearing No. 25 captivated an audience with his swing. If Burrell can keep this clutch play going, he will endear himself to fans in San Francisco for years to come.

The Giants have other new arrivals waiting to earn the same love.

Relievers like Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez will definitely be called on before its all said and done. How they answer that call will determine if the 2010 season will be long remembered or not.

Javier Lopez is the only healthy left-handed reliever in San Francisco’s maligned bullpen. Will his value continue to rise? Or will he and Ramirez join the list of disappointments late in games?

The Giants also bolstered their infield after Renteria went back on the disabled list with a strained bicep. They called up minor leaguer Emmanuel Burriss for another stint in the big leagues to back up Uribe at shortstop.

Giving Manager Bruce Bochy a little more wiggle room, the Giants also acquired Mike Fontenot from the Cubs during the series.

If second basemen Freddie Sanchez cannot pull himself out of his offensive slump, we may see Fontenot infused at second before long.

Brian Sabean wasn’t done there either, making an early deal this morning for Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals.

Guillen is regarded as the second worst player in a clubhouse second only to Milton Bradley. His nine-team career speaks volumes about his chemistry.

On the other hand, Guillen has plenty of pop in his bat and has already driven in 62 RBI. Where does Bochy play him? If he gets left/right field, that will likely force Huff to first, and Ishikawa to the bench.

Despite the juggling act for Bruce Bochy, Jose Guillen’s character is a huge turn off. Let’s hope he doesn’t have a negative effect on the good chemistry the club is enjoying now.

If Guillen is to be viewed as a rental player for the remainder of the season, then the move makes perfect sense. How much can a bad attitude affect a club in 40 games? Let’s hope I’m not seriously wrong with that viewpoint!

The San Francisco Giants are in the mix for the division crown. They are playing good ball. The front office is making moves.

Pitchers are laying down guarantees. For the first time in a long time, it looks like this whole organization wants it. And they want it bad.


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San Francisco Giants: Why Edgar Renteria Is a Waste of a Roster Spot

The San Francisco Giants have been the talk of baseball over the month of July for many different reasons.

First and foremost is that prior to Monday night’s 4-3 loss against the Florida Marlins, the Giants had racked up 15 wins in their previous 18 games.

Secondly, the Giants aren’t just doing it with their pitching. San Francisco leads the majors in runs scored for the entire month and rookie sensation Buster Posey is riding a 19-game hitting streak, which has catapulted him to becoming the lead candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.

Yes, even ahead of Stephen Strasburg.

Furthermore, first baseman/outfielder Aubrey Huff is by far the best offseason offensive acquisition by any team in baseball.

When you consider that he is currently hitting:

.306/.390/.543/.946, 19 HR, 60 RBI, 49 BB, 47K

and is only being paid $3 million dollars in 2010, he is easily the best offensive addition any team has made. No other first year player for any of the other 29 teams has provided as much bang for his buck as Huff has for the Giants.

Combine the new offensive might from the Giants with the best starting rotation in baseball (sorry Cardinals fans, think what you want, but your rotation is second fiddle because it is top heavy).

And with the Cardinals’ Brad Penny hurt, it is obvious the Giants have the dirtiest rotation in baseball with all five starters capable of being No. 2s, and three of whom are legitimate No. 1’s.

But while the Giants have a dominant rotation, and a much improved offense from last season, the little things can still cost this team in a playoff race that will come down to the very last week of the season, if not the final series of the season.

That said, the way San Francisco lost to the Marlins on Monday night was only eerily reminiscent of recent losing seasons by the bay.

Washed up, overpaid veterans failing to produce is only all too familiar for Giants fans and the fact that their starting shortstop on Monday night couldn’t even make solid contact once in five at-bats is downright pathetic.

It’s partially the fault of the manager Bruce Bochy, who inserted Renteria in the lineup and in the two hole despite his being 0-15 against the Marlins’ starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco heading into the game. The Giants suffered from gut-wrenchingly ugly at-bats all game long from their soon to be 35-year-old shortstop.

Not only did Renteria finish the game 0-5 with three Ks and three runners LOB, but in both the seventh and ninth innings, Renteria had the tying run in scoring position with two outs and struck out both times.

But the manner in which both strikeouts occurred was absolutely appalling. In the seventh, Renteria couldn’t make any contact on two straight high-80’s fastballs as he swung through both without even tipping either one.

And in the ninth, he swung and missed on ball four in the dirt for the final out of the game.

What does an awful game at the plate like this tell us? It tells us that the player doesn’t have anything left.

Despite what he might have told San Jose Mercury News beat writer Andrew Baggarly a couple of weeks ago, Renteria has nothing left.

Not only can he not come through when his team needs him at the plate, but he is a liability defensively as well. He is in the bottom-fourth, if not bottom-fifth, of all big league shortstops when it comes to range, and he has a noodle for an arm.

He doesn’t steal bases (just three on the year, two fewer than Aubrey Huff), he can’t beat out infield hits, and he can’t hit a home run to save his life (just one homer on the season back during San Francisco’s home opener).

His extremely pronounced closed stance prevents him from pulling any pitch down the left field line. Seventy-five percent of his swings look to be at half speed, and despite an above-average on base percentage of .356, his inability to hit for any type of consistency or drive in any runs ruins the few good numbers Renteria has established this season.

All you really need to know is this: Despite having a superior OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) to that of teammate and fellow middle infielder Freddy Sanchez (.721 to .660), 99 percent of Giants fans would tell you they would rather have Sanchez at the plate in a crucial RBI situation than Renteria.

Why is that the case? There aren’t any numbers that support that case, so how can that be?

The reason behind Giants fans wanting Sanchez at the plate over Renteria is because of Sanchez’ extended hot streak earlier this season and the sustainable fact that he is fun to watch play the game.

Sure, Sanchez’ current slump has seen his numbers drop lower than those of Renteria, but Sanchez can hit the ball to all fields; he doesn’t get overpowered by any pitcher’s fastball, and he smiles.

The guy shows a personality on the field and in interviews with which it is easy to fall in love. You can see him making adjustments, having fun, and making difficult plays in the field seem routine.

With Renteria, it’s just the complete opposite. He has a blank stare on his face, never seems to be enjoying the game, and doesn’t give off a fun personality to the fanbase.

Therefore, when Renteria falls into a slump, it’s easy for fans to bag on him because he always looks mopey and depressed out on the field.

Now are smiling and having a bounce in your step prerequisites to being a productive major leaguer?

No, of course not. But the fact that Renteria is now one of the league’s worst defensive shortstops and is nothing but a mediocre .250 singles hitter with average speed, means the Giants could do better without him.

San Francisco would do a world of wonder for themselves if they were to eat the rest of his $9 million dollar salary and give his platoon shortstop role over to the younger and faster Emmanuel Burriss.

Even though Burriss has just a .262 career average and .629 career OPS, the 25-year-old would immediately become one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, as he sports a cannon of an arm with tremendous range, and would give the Giants an added dimension to their roster: speed off the bench.

The only other true base stealing threat on the 25 man roster is starting outfielder and leadoff hitter Andres Torres. With Burriss added to the mix, the Giants would have a better ability to give Torres days off (since Burriss is by far the next best option to hit leadoff) and the rest of the time, Burriss would provide the role of a perfect late innings pinch runner.

Any lack of offense Burriss would bring, compared to Renteria, would be made up with Burriss’ defense and base stealing speed, and by going this route, the Giants can have so many different looks.

Not only can Burriss hit leadoff when Torres needs a day off, but instead of Sanchez, Rowand, Uribe, or Renteria batting eighth, the Giants could hit Burriss in that spot. If a starting infielder needs a day off, Burriss could hit in front of the pitcher and possibly move up two bases in one at-bat. A straight steal of second and then the pitcher sacrificing him over to third is just one of the possibilities with Burriss’ speed.

This move simply makes too much sense not to happen, because while maybe Burriss wouldn’t have done any better at the plate than Renteria did on Monday night, Burriss would have certainly thrown out Dan Uggla on a routine grounder to save a run.

Instead, Renteria’s noodle arm let Uggla beat out an infield hit and the Marlins’ second baseman came around to score later that inning.

Baseball games are won on both offense and defense, and Burriss clearly brings more tools in helping the Giants win than Renteria at this point in their careers.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

San Francisco Giants Need Triple-A Team To Produce Marketable Talent

The San Francisco Giants really need another left-hander out of the bullpen now that Jeremy Affeldt’s sidelined with a torn oblique muscle.

The club also needs minor league talent to attract a proven big league run-producer in trade.

Todd Wellemeyer’s pitching well for the Fresno Grizzlies in the Pacific Coast League, but that doesn’t mean that fans calling for the club to trade Jonathan Sanchez for a hitter have any idea how difficult it would be to fill the No. 4 spot in the rotation.

Oh, there are starting pitchers in Triple-A—but there’s a good reason that only one has ever reached the big league level and for the big club’s hesitance to turn a starting spot back over to Wellemeyer.

The organization does have some talent other teams might seek in trade, but the most proven player in Fresno is middle infielder Emmanuel Burriss and the Giants could use him themselves down the stretch.

Such is the playoff frenzy among Giants fans that some are insisting that Gino Espinelli is the answer in the bullpen.

Gino Espinelli?

Here’s a look at the key players in Fresno. Remember, the Giants can lure a big league hitter without giving up minor league talent and, rest assured, the organization would rather gut the Fresno roster than touch the nucleus of the Richmond Class AA team.


Matt Yourkin, LHP – Giants fans haven’t heard a thing about the 29-year-old journeyman left-hander, but he has pitched well in 16 starts this year (he hadn’t made a professional start in his five previous seasons). He’s 6-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 89 innings pitched. He pitches to contact. A Giants bullpen that has an excess of stuff and a need for command could potentially use Yourkin down the stretch. He has 76 strikeouts and only 26 walks.

It would require altering the 40-man roster to get Yourkin to the big leagues, so enjoy him in Fresno.

Dontrelle Willis, LHP — He’s 28 and serious baseball fans no his story. The Giants have him in Arizona where they are totally rebuilding his wind-up and delivery. Once the minor league pitching instructors feel he is ready, Willis will be sent to Fresno where he work as a situational relief pitcher. The Giants need nothing more, and more quickly, than they need a lefty in the pen. For anyone to expect Willis to provide big league help in a pennant race, after losing command and control of his emotions, would be a stretch.

Eric Hacker, RHP – He’s 11-5 in 20 starts, but that 4.52 ERA has enabled to bypass him a couple of times when there was a need for a fifth starter. Hacker has walked 42 and given up 122 hits in 109 2/3 innings. 

Joe Martinez, RHP – The righty replaces Affeldt on the big league roster in a bullpen without a lefty. His big league career has been nondescript, but he is 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 13 starts in the Pacific Coast League. The 1.28 WHIP could make him a potential throw-in if the Giants need to add a potential big league arm in a trade for a hitter. 

Steve Edlefsen, RHP – The numbers add up. He’s 6-1 with a 1.85 ERA and five saves. His 41 strikeouts and 22 walks in 48 innings indicate that he throws strikes. The 25-year-old is never mentioned when the big league considers adding a reliever. 

Gino Espinelli, LHP – Watch the Giants bullpen cough up leads in the middle innings often enough and, yeah, Espinelli starts looking good. The 27-year-old could find his way to San Francisco with only Jeremy Affeldt working as a lefty in the pen right now.

Espinelli is 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA and eight saves in Fresno. His inability to break through to the big leagues stems, in part, from the fact that he was judged a full-time reliever in 2007 and has never developed strikeout stuff big leaguers tend to need to shine late in games. 

Alex Hinshaw, LHP – If Martinez got the call to replace Affeldt, it’s unfathomable that the big club can’t look past Hinshaw’s 2-3 record and that 4.73 ERA in Fresno because the 27-year-old had 49 strikeouts in 45 2/3 big league innings with the Giants in 2008 and 2009. The lack of command that showed in the big leagues (36 walks) has slowed him in Fresno.

It doesn’t make much sense for a big league team with erratic, right hand relievers to look past a potentially capable lefty with 47 Ks and 27 BBs in Class AAA. Does Martinez help more coming out of the pen late in a game than Hinshaw might? Really?

Waldis Joaquin, RHP – The 23-year-old throws hard, but hasn’t thrown strikes in a couple stints with the Giants. Regardless of his numbers in Fresno, though, he’ll be in San Francisco in September when guys like Edlefsen and Hacker are headed home. Joaquin might be the most marketable arm in Fresno when the Giants talk trade.

Position players

Tyler Graham, OF – The Pacific Coast League is a hitter’s league, so it’s hard to tell what Grahma’s .343 batting average means in terms of big league potential. The 26-year-old lacks power, but has 24 stolen bases. His being a right hand hitter won’t hurt his chances of a September call-up. He could be a near big league-ready talent that could be a throw-in if a trade for a big league run-producer presents itself. 

John Bowker, OF-1B – Those who think 183 games and 475 big league at-bats aren’t enough for Bowker to have shown he’s really more than a .238 big league hitter will continue to insist he be recalled so that he can try, again, to turn PCL MVP-like numbers into serviceable big league stats.

His value on the open market hinges on which team the Giants deal with. Bowker’s minor league numbers would impress fans, briefly, as they bid farewell to an Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, etc.

Juan Guzman, 3B-1B – The guy is a minor league hitter who, unlike Bowker, hasn’t received much opportunity to start and rack up big league ABs. He’s got 13 homers and 39 RBI. Guzman’s hitting .309, but has proven to be a big league DH who might attract limited interest as part of a bigger trade package.

Ryan Rohlinger, 3B-SS – He’s hitting .310 with five homers in Triple A, but has looked increasingly like a big league utilityman. He was recalled on Saturday to replace fallen Eugenio Velez, who suffered a concussion when struck by a line drive foul ball.

There are teams willing to accept a 26-year-old Rohlinger who can play multiple positions—as long as he’s packaged with younger, more touted prospects. 

Brett Pill, 1B – His 11 homers and 58 RBIs show he has upped his power potential at age 25. Pill could, in theory, be an attractive piece in a trade for a big league hitter—especially with Brandon Belt on the fast track to becoming the big league first baseman. Pill’s most certainly in line for a September call-up if he isn’t traded first.

Emmanuel Burriss, IF – The 25-year-old was the Giants opening day second baseman in 2009. Injuries sidelined him for more than a year, but he brings the big club a lot of what it needs. Burriss adds speed to a lead-footed lineup.

While he didn’t develop into the big-time big league shortstop he was drafted to become, he can bring young legs and range to the position. Burriss is a switch-hitter who, most certainly, will be on the big league roster soon. He’s batting .282 in 117 Triple-A at-bats. He has youth and a sufficient upside to be a key part of a trade for a big league batter.

Brock Bond, 2B – The Giants are committed to Freddy Sanchez, with Burriss ready to return to the big leagues. Highly touted Nick Noonan is considered by some the second baseman of the future (although Noonan’s struggling in Class AA this season).

Bond is a 24-year-old switch-hitter hitting .287 with 29 RBI. He’s not a power hitter, but gets on base (.405) OBP. It’ll be interesting to see if the Giants, or any other big league club, are noticing that the guy’s having a really good first year in Triple A.

So, there they are. Joaquin, Burriss, Pill, and Graham are all marketable minor leaguers. None, however, is the centerpiece of a trade that’s going to net the Giants a hitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Scarce Six: The African-American Players in the Giants System

I just realized this fact after I saw Emmanuel Burriss get transferred to the 60-day Disabled List on May 22 to make room for Santiago Casilla:

The Giants haven’t had one African-American player take the field for them this year.

Burriss has been hurt and on the disabled list all season, and Fred Lewis, the only other African-American player on the 25-man active roster this Spring, was traded away to Toronto shortly after the season began.

In my mind, this is incredible, and may be the first year in a long time that the Giants have not had an African-American player take the field in a Giants uniform. I mean, this is a franchise that has housed great African-American players like Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, Hank Thompson, Willie McCovey, Bobby Bonds, Jeffrey Leonard, Kevin Mitchell, Ellis Burks, Reggie Sanders, Kenny Lofton (for a half-season anyways), Ray Durham, and of course, Barry Bonds.

Now, I don’t think you can blame this one on the Giants organization or use the racism card on Bill Neukom or Brian Sabean (though I wish we could because it would get Sabean fired). The lack of African-American ballplayers on the Giants roster is simply a reality of the game nowadays. It’s not just the Giants that lack African-American players, a lot of teams are. Last year, in a tweet, Bill Simmons joked that the Red Sox “had more Jewish guys on their team than African-Americans.” Hence, anybody claiming the Giants as a “racist” organization may have a hard argument to make.

That being said, the organization isn’t completely bare of talented African American players. Let’s take a look at the African-American players in the Giants organization and how soon (or if) they will see playing time in a San Francisco Giants uniform.

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