Former Burbank High standout Freddy Sanchez had been working hard to battle back from shoulder surgery with the San Francisco Giants.
Sanchez, who was an important piece for the Giants when they won a World Series championship in 2010, missed a big portion of the 2011 season after dislocating his right shoulder June 10. He had surgery to repair his labrum and rotator cuff in August.
Sanchez, a second baseman, played 60 games last season after signing a one-year extension just after the season began. He batted .289 (69 for 239) with three home runs and 24 runs batted in. He recorded 15 doubles and scored 21 runs. He also had a .988 fielding percentage, to go along with a .332 on-base percentage and a .397 slugging percentage.
Sanchez, 34, has had multiple surgeries on both shoulders the past few years. He has had to endure his share of rehabs during his 10-year big-league career and he is growing tired of the injuries.
"More tired than you'll ever know," Sanchez told mlb.com Monday, adding that he'll probably return as a designated hitter in spring training before he plays the field.
Sanchez showed up for spring training ready to work. He has progressed so rapidly, in fact, that he could be ready to play on opening day. That was something that motivated the former Glendale Community College standout.
"As soon as they said that there was a chance I could play, that was my No. 1 goal, to get out there," Sanchez told mlb.com, recalling his four- to five-hour workouts in triple-digit temperatures.
Although he has had fewer problems with his hitting, his throwing still hasn't gotten back to where it was before the injury.
"Once we got out to 60 to 90 feet, there was just nothing behind it," Sanchez said. "There was pain and I had no velocity on the ball."
A consummate competitor, Sanchez said it is difficult for him to sit out with an injury.
"It's really, really tough for me when I'm hurting to be in the clubhouse," Sanchez said. "I've always been that way. Some guys can do it. For me, it's really difficult to be around when I can't be on the field with these guys."
Sanchez missed all of spring training and the first 38 games of the 2010 season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder in late 2009. He missed a portion of the 2009 season with a strained left shoulder.
In 904 career games, Sanchez is batting .297 (1,012-3,402) with 48 home runs, 215 doubles and 371 runs batted in with the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. He won a batting crown as a member of Pittsburgh in 2006. He has a lifetime .988 fielding percentage.