Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who opened the year on the disabled list after he was slow to recover from shoulder surgery, underwent season-ending surgery to remove a portion of a disc from his back Wednesday.
CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly reports the micro-disectomy went as planned, but Sanchez’s Giants career is still likely over, barring the decision to hand him another baffling contract extension.
Sanchez will have made about $20 million for hitting .290/.333/.387 with 11 homers in 78 RBI in 196 games with San Francisco. The Giants acquired him in a deadline deal with the Pirates in 2009. He played in just 25 games over the rest of that year and hit .284/.295/.324, but the Giants gave him a two-year, $12 million deal anyway. Making matters worse, they signed him to a completely unnecessary one-year, $6 million extension in April 2011.
Sanchez turns 35 this winter, so he’ll have an uphill battle as he attempts to make a comeback. Unless Brian Sabean is still gaga for him, he’ll probably have to accept a minor league deal and the chance to compete for a starting job.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.