Pirates Notebook: Sanchez regrets lost time
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PHOENIX -- This would have been the day the Pirates faced Freddy Sanchez, one of their most accomplished players of the past decade, for the first time since the July trade to San Francisco.
Alas, Sanchez is not facing anything these days except an arduous recovery from a December surgery on his right shoulder. He is not with the Giants, instead rehabilitating at their training facility in Arizona, and is not due back until sometime next month or ...
"There's really no timetable," Sanchez said Sunday. "I wish there were."
Is it driving him nuts?
"Oh, I passed that stage a long time ago."
Exacerbating that is that the Giants are off to a 5-1 start and Sanchez, for the first time in his career, has a chance to play for a contender.
"I'm looking forward to it big-time. We went out and made some big additions in the offseason, and we all know about the pitching in San Francisco. We're off to a great start, and I'm anxious to get out there, see if I can help them."
Of missing a chance to see the Pirates, the team for which he was a three-time All-Star and National League batting champion: "It would have been good. I still keep up with what those guys are doing, watched their first two games on TV to see how all the guys I played with are doing. I wish them nothing but the best. Those guys ... it would have been weird playing against them. Being their teammate for so long ... yeah, that's going to be weird when it happens."
Tim Alderson, the 21-year-old pitching prospect acquired for Sanchez, got off to a good start Saturday for Class AA Altoona after a winter of mechanical overhauls: He threw five scoreless innings and allowed four hits, needing only 49 pitches to get that far.
Manager John Russell gave three regulars a rest -- catcher Ryan Doumit, first baseman Jeff Clement and third baseman Andy LaRoche -- on a getaway Sunday and, most striking, used Delwyn Young at third.
Young was plenty surprised to see the "5" next to his name on the lineup card in the morning, and there was cause: He never had played the position in the majors, and he was tried there only sparsely late in spring training when management was trying to find more ways to get him playing time.
On Arizona's first at-bat, a Conor Jackson grounder to third, Young threw well wide of first for an error.
"I think we've got a solid group of guys on the bench that we need to play, which is a little different than we've had in the past," Russell said. "You don't want them to go too long without at-bats."
Russell was asked if Clement, in particular, might get spelled more often than most because of his first-time everyday status.
"A little," he said. "But I'd say, in general, we're going to try to keep a lot of guys fresh."
• It was not just Pedro Alvarez swinging well for Class AAA Indianapolis in splitting a four-game set at Columbus. Steve Pearce is at .471, Neil Walker .417 and Jose Tabata .350. "It's fun to see the way they're swinging, going into deep counts the way we have at the major-league level," general manager Neal Huntington said. "That's the approach we have to take, top to bottom, to score runs."
• Huntington, on what so far has been a solid back end to the bullpen with Octavio Dotel and Brendan Donnelly: "These are guys with quality stuff who know how to get big outs late in the game. And getting Joel Hanrahan will make it that much better."
• Steady rain is in the forecast for the next 24-36 hours in San Francisco, putting the Pirates' game tonight with the Giants in jeopardy.
First Published April 12, 2010 12:00 am