Sanchez seeking end to struggles

GLENDALE — The following are updates on area Major League Baseball players.

Freddy Sanchez (Glendale Community College, 1998) second baseman, San Francisco Giants: The Giants have tried several things recently to take some pressure off Sanchez, who is currently mired in a prolonged hitting slump.

Sanchez was dropped from his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order all the way down to seventh on Sunday, when he went one for four in a 6-3 road loss to the Atlanta Braves, and he was left out of the starting lineup altogether for the first two games of a four-game set with the visiting Chicago Cubs on Monday and Tuesday, although he did appear as a pinch hitter in both.

While he was back in the second spot in the order on Wednesday and Thursday, going two for two with a walk, a double and two sacrifice bunts in the latter to aid an 8-7 Giants win, Sanchez is on pace for his worst offensive season as a starter since he broke into regular duty with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005.

A .295 career hitter, Sanchez has seen his season batting average plummet 82 points since June 16 down to .261 as of Thursday. He has driven in 29 runs and scored 33 over 284 at bats in 74 games after missing the first month and a half of the season on the disabled list recovering from offseason labrum surgery.

San Francisco (66-50), which trails the San Diego Padres by two games in the National League West Division, currently leads the National League wild-card standings.

Trevor Bell (Crescenta Valley High, 2005) pitcher, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Bell is once again back in the Angels' bullpen after recently making his first two consecutive starts of the season.

The team was idle on Thursday and has another off-day on Monday, temporarily eliminating the need for a fifth starter, so Bell's next scheduled turn against Toronto on Saturday will be skipped.

Bell's last two starts have begun extremely well before souring in the sixth inning. He handcuffed the Detroit Tigers for four scoreless innings on Sunday before allowing three runs in the fifth inning — only one of which was earned — and three more in the sixth, in which he recorded only one out.

Bell allowed six runs, four earned, on nine hits and took the loss, falling to 1-3 on the year with a 6.03 earned-run average and 27 strikeouts to nine walks.

The Angels (59-57) are 7 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West Division.

Doug Slaten (Glendale Community College, 1999) relief pitcher, Washington Nationals: Slaten ran his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to seven on Tuesday with a hitless two-inning outing in Washington's 8-2 loss to the Florida Marlins.

Slaten (2-1, 2.89 ERA) walked two and struck out one, but also extended his hitless streak to 4 1/3 innings. He hasn't allowed a run since giving up three to the Cincinnati Reds on July 20.

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