SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Hector Sanchez’s recurring shoulder pain is more than a passing inconvenience for the young switch-hitting catcher, and it could throw a size 15 shoe in the machinery as the Giants plot their roster decisions – including how much they plan to tax Buster Posey behind the plate this season.
First, the latest on Sanchez: He was scratched from Thursday’s lineup and didn’t even take part in rundown drills because his right shoulder flared up again while getting loose. He tried hitting in the cage but the pain was even worse when he tried to bat from the left side.
“I can’t get extension,” Sanchez said. “I feel in back side of shoulder, a lot of pain. … That scares me because it is really painful.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy agreed “there should be some concern at this point,” but said Sanchez would rest for a couple days in the hopes it would calm down with treatment. Sanchez said he’s dealt with shoulder soreness since playing winter ball in Venezuela, though, so it’s not an overreaction to think he could begin the season on the disabled list.
And what then? What are the Giants’ coverage options?
Bochy mentioned Guillermo Quiroz, who has played for five major league clubs while scattering 105 games over six seasons. Jackson Williams is considered a quality defender, but he is bereft of big league experience.
Then there’s Johnny Monell, who entered as a .600 hitter. Bochy made it pretty clear Monell isn’t ready to catch in the big leagues, but he’ll be evaluated closely over the next couple weeks.
“We’ve got some guys who can handle the staff,” Bochy said. “Johnny’s probably a guy who needs more time, but he’s made noise here and he’ll get more time. You like his bat. It works. He hasn’t caught a lot (this spring), in fairness to him, and he’ll get the chance to catch more. We’ll be open minded here.”
Translation: Monell can keep hitting .600 the rest of the spring. But his chances of making the club would be much greater if he shows proficiency behind the plate.
If the Giants have to open with Quiroz or someone of a similar ilk, though, it’s going to be a heck of a lot tougher to take Posey out of the lineup. And it wouldn’t be easy to move him to first base, either, since that would mean swapping in Quiroz’s bat for Brandon Belt.
The best outcome would be if Sanchez’s shoulder responds to treatment and he’s able to get well by Opening Day. That sure sounds like an overly optimistic scenario, though.