Sandoval, Uribe to man infield corners? Possibly

LOS ANGELES — Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated Saturday that he soon could employ a lineup featuring Pablo Sandoval at first base and Juan Uribe at third base.

The odd man out would be Travis Ishikawa, who started 20 of San Francisco’s first 29 games at first base. But Ishikawa entered Saturday batting .191 and was hitless in his last 16 at-bats.

By contrast, Sandoval, who rested Saturday after catching the previous evening, was hitting .298. And Uribe, who started his second consecutive game at third base and third game in a row overall, had hiked his average to .289 after collecting two hits in three of his previous five games.

Asked if a Sandoval-Uribe tandem were possible, Bochy replied, “Yes, it’s something we can do. It is an option. It’s something we have talked about.”

Bochy observed that Sandoval, the regular third baseman whose skill set includes playing first base and catching, would need virtually no preparation to play a game at first base, due to his excellent ability to adjust.

San Francisco’s offensive struggles might force Bochy to make this move sooner than later. They certainly explain Uribe’s increased presence.

“That’s why I’ve tried to get him a little more in the mix,” Bochy said. “He gives an added pop in the lineup when he’s in there.”

Bochy has not given up on Ishikawa, though he said somewhat ominously that he hasn’t determined how much longer the Giants will continue to give the 25-year-old rookie opportunities to recover his offensive equilibrium. For the immediate future, Bochy said that he might prolong Ishikawa’s mental break by resting him on Sunday 

“Travis has had his games where he throws out good at-bats and he’s had his games where he’s struggled,” Bochy said. “He’s battling his confidence a little bit.”

– Chris Haft

12 Comments

Hey Chris, I don’t think Uribe is the answer. I understand Travis is struggling but with Uribe, things will get worse. The little hitting he is doing now is just temporary. I say let’s just do the right thing and bring up Guzman. Let’s give him a shot to see what he can do at first. We know he does not have the footwork or instincts to play third so let’s see how he handles first at the MLB level. Let’s keep Travis because of his defensive ablilities and use him in later innings as Guzman’s sub. Additionally, this may relax him a little and he will stop pressing like he currently is doing and start hitting. Uribe reminds me too much of that guy we had last year (I can’t remember his name) that was playing third that we eventually cut.

I understand the Castillo comparison with Uribe, but the fact is he is hitting right now and Travis hasn’t been for some time. I agree Guzman needs a chance at the big’s, and I checked just a day or two ago and saw that he was statistically productive in Fresno with only 1 error. I think we have a pitching staff that can pick up Guzman for making a mistake at first, and just as easily said I think Guzman’s bat can also pick up our pitching staff. Ishikawa plays a nice first base defensively, but I feel a press these next 47 games. I know that no one wants to say it, but the distance between us and the other guys by July 3rd is going to impact our chances for the post season…dare I say, greatly? Get Uribe at third right now while he’s hitting, and we’ll see if Bochy makes any moves once we come back to the ballpark on Sunday night.

Typical Giant solution. Let’s put a below average veteran with no power (he has 1 rbi) at third and forget younger players like Guzman and Frandsen. Not to mention the fantastic progress Sandoval has made defensively at 3rd. He looks good enough to be a long term solution. Does anyone with a brain actually think that Juan Uribe is going to put this team over the top? And please don’t tell me how he hit 20 hr’s in a season 3 times. That was at Cellular Field, one of the majors biggest launching pads. The rest of his career was spent at Coors Field, before the humidor. So, playing in 2 of the best hitters parks of the last 40 years, Juan Uribe has a .253 lifetime batting average with an OBP of .295. Just what we need, another #8 hitter. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Is it any wonder they haven’t won a World Series since Eisenhower was President.

James. you’re right in that Uribe is not a good answer as he’s too much like Castillio – streaky and average at best. But giving Uribe his release (I doubt he’d accept being sent to the minors) is dangerous given the Giant’s lack of alternatives. They’re desperate for hitting. Guzman can help that at the expense of defense. Since Sabean did so little in the off season to address this issue, his team might have to bite the bullet and ride out the season with what they have. It will be painful, but it will still be better then last year.

The Abstract. I think we think alike. I really like Guzman and Frandsen has always been one of my favorites. Frandsen reminds me of a younger version of Jeff Kent and I feel Guzman is ready to explode. All both of these players need is just the opportunity to play. Like you said, why keep Uribe when you have Guzman and Frandsen just itching to play. Frandsen can also play 3d, SS and 2d so let’s give him a shot. We know what he can do. We saw it at the end of 2007. It was just unfortunate that his injury cost him all of 2008. I know Guzman is a liability in the field but I think he will give us more than the buck ninety-one average of Ishikawa. And we’re not giving up on Ishikawa, he just needs to relax and get his head right.

I didn’t get to see today’s game, but I heard we had really poor defense. I think defense is really important for us, and Travis Ishikawa has great defense. When you compare the offensive upgrade we will get (which I don’t think will even be that much) with how our defense will likely suffer, I don’t think this is a good move. Besides, look at Emmanuel Burriss! He struggled a lot early on, and a lot of people were calling for the Giants to bring up Frandsen, but since May 2nd he’s been 13-for-26! And his defense is great. Maybe Ishikawa just needs more regular playing time. When Burriss was slumping, he still kept playing every day and eventually got out of it. Maybe he could be more consistent if he could start consistently. Also, Pablo Sandoval is an amazing baseball player and I know he will have no trouble playing yet another position, but why would they want to do that?? He must have so many things to think about, playing first, third, AND catcher. I know he has the ability to do that, but couldn’t he be even better if he just stuck to one position??
Lauren
http://sfgiantsgirl.mlblogs.com

Let the skipper do his job. If he thinks Uribe is the right fit, for now, let him see when he burns out how wrong he is. But if it works, let’s us all be big enough to tell him so.
O.K. moving forward. We need to take 2 out of 3 from the bums. Then we come home and we are good at home. Our chance to gain some ground is now. So I get playing who’s hot.
Also, I think the Giants should look into trading for Matt Holliday. Am I crazy, your thoughts?

I think they should demote Ishikawa so he can regain his confidence in AAA. Its obvious his focus has diminished since Spring Training. But I do like him at 1st base defensively. I have given Guzman many rounds of thinking and rethinking if it makes sense to bring him up this early and I just can’t help to look at the offensive DISASTER. The Giants are last in the league in almost every category, if not last then the bottom 5 (and that’s being generous). Its taking a while for Bochy to figure out an offensive plan that works. Is this year his last? I mean he’s done a fantastic job with the pitching squad but a manager should be balanced with both sides. I don’t think its fair to the pitchers either. They pretty much have to pitch a near flawless game to even have a chance for the team to win and then they don’t get the win (i.e. Zito’s past few starts). I am still surprised that Uribe is still out there and Richie and Velez is wasting away on the bench. Whats going on with Freddie and Randy striking out more than they’re hitting? I can go on forever with the frustrations but to keep things simple, great pitching + horrible offense = team imbalance. AHHHHHH!!!

I have a recommendation. Uribe is garbage, the person who posted a bit before mentioned why, particularly the ballparks he played in scares me. Sandoval should play 3rd, he’s been rock solid defensively there and Uribe committed a crucial error against the Dodgers. Simply put, Sandoval is better offensively. Don’t make him adjust to a different position as his everyday role when he is settling in very nicely at 3rd. Instead, please put RICH AURILIA at first. He’s a an favorite, and as Mike Krukow said recently “The best two strike hitter on this team”, you can’t deny what he managed to do in 2008 with only 400 ABs: 10 home runs, 52 RBIs, .283 avg. That’s consistent production that we need. Sure, he’s hitting under .200 now but can you blame him? The Giants haven’t given him any at bats this year. For a guy who has come through time and time again for us year after year, why not try him as an everyday player again? Both he and Uribe were signed to minor league contracts, so there’s no downside if it doesn’t work and he is clearly the better player, so why not?

For the Holliday trade idea, that’s an absolute no-no. Last thing we need is another “power hitter” OF who made his name playing in a hitter’s park (ex: Rowand in Philly and Cellular and Holliday in Coors). Both are struggling offensively in their new environments and we have Torres, Schierholtz waiting to start for us. We have to use some of our pitchers as trade bait and get a POWER 1B. And I believe this has to be Sabean’s and Bochy’s last season. Bochy because he has made crucial mistakes in situational hitting. My example being the game vs. the Rockies which we win 1-0 off Aurilia’s walf off. Runners on third and first, 1 out. The only way we don’t get the run is if we ground into a double play. So instead having a fast Fred Lewis hitting, he brings in Bengie who is having his first at-bat and grounds into a DP. Even if Lewis Ks in that situation, get Bengie to hit next! That just completely pissed me off! And he didn’t even leave Molina in for the rest of the game. Sabean, because he just wastes our money without accomplishing anything. Uribe should be long gone, because he is old and useless. We can’t be a young team with old, struggling guys blocking the path for the rookies.

As any Giants fan knows, this team’s offense is a disaster. At the beginning of the post-Bonds era, the team’s brass promised a youth movement, yet they go out and burden the lineup with the signings of marginal veterans like Rowand and Renteria. Renteria’s signing comes off as pointless…Burriss was a lock to make the team at either SS or 2B this season, leaving Frandsen as the odd-man out. Frandsen should be on this team. And if the Giants didn’t sign Rowand, Schierholtz would be seeing regular playing time, as he should. The lineup SHOULD be…C-Molina, 1B-Aurilia, 2B-Frandsen, 3B-Sandoval, SS-Burriss, LF-Lewis or Winn, CF-Lewis or Winn, RF-Schierholtz. That lineup may or may not do any better than the current one, but the point is the kids should play. Other teams let their prospects play while the Giants wait till they turn 26 or 27 before giving them a job. I just don’t understand.

What about Dallas McPherson? I know the Giants signed him to a minor league contract and he must be in extended spring training. He could man third base and Sandoval could move to 1st. I don’t think Guzman is ready to man 1st base yet, but hopefully they will find a place for his bat in the line-up, or possibly trade him to an A.L. team who could use him as a DH.

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