Freddy Sanchez holding out hope for return this season

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Freddy Sanchez hasn’t played a game in the majors since June 10 of last year following shoulder and back surgeries, but he’s still hoping to help the Giants as a pinch-hitter down the stretch.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Sanchez is currently working out at the Giants’ complex in Scottsdale and could begin playing in instructional league games as soon as Monday.

Sanchez began this season on the disabled list following surgery last August to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The 34-year-old second baseman suffered numerous setbacks before undergoing surgery on his back on July 5 to address a nerve issue which was affecting his leg strength. Giants trainer Dave Groeschner still considers a return “highly unlikely,” but Sanchez is willing to help in any way he can.

“There’s obviously no room right now and everybody is doing great, so I realize it’s a tough situation,” Sanchez told me by phone on Friday. “Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias, Marco Scutaro, all those guys have been there and are playing great. Sometimes you can’t mess with that.

“But my goal was to always come back this year. If I can be a bat off the bench, or help in any way, I want to be there.”

Sanchez was a key part of the Giants’ World Series run in 2010, but he has made $18 million over the past three seasons while appearing in just 171 games.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?