Not that there was much doubt considering he’s under contract for $5 million, but Todd Helton confirmed that he’s planning to come back from hip surgery to play in 2013.
“I think, physically, I will be able to come back,” Helton said, via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “So I plan on coming back, but there are a couple of things still on my mind. I want to know I have a good chance to make it through next year–healthy. That will factor into it.”
In other words it’s not quite 100 percent that he’ll return, which seems natural considering he’s just six weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn labrum and still going through the recovery process at age 39.
This was Helton’s worst season, as the career .320 hitter batted just .238 while trying to play through the hip injury before shutting things down in August. He’ll likely be a part-time player in 2013, but it’d be nice to see Helton go out on a high note.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.