Giants' Freddy Sanchez finally nearing return

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sanchez posing.JPGFreddy Sanchez has played only 25 games in a Giants uniform despite being with the club since July 29 of last year.  It was a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined in 2009 and knee surgery has him on the disabled list this month.  Well, we finally have some good news on the 32-year-old second baseman.

According to the Associated Press, Sanchez has begun participating in games down at extended spring training and could rejoin the big league club in two weeks.

Sanchez is a .299/.334/.417 hitter in 2,500-plus career at-bats.  He was inked to a two-year, $12 million contract extension this winter and is just about ready to show the Giants that he was worth the investment.  Or, at least he’ll try.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.