|Recurring shoulder pain worries Pirates' Freddy Sanchez|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 March 2008 12:29|
Sanchez didn't make any throws while playing six innings of a 5-1 exhibition loss to Cincinnati, only the second time he has appeared defensively this spring. The pain occurred when he threw between innings and during pregame warmups.
``I'm very concerned now. I was hoping after the first day (in the field Wednesday) that this day would be easier, and I'd be able to work through it a little better. But it kind of seemed like it was worse,'' Sanchez said. ``It's got me concerned.''
Sanchez received treatment after playing, and the Pirates' medical staff will re-evaluate his condition on Saturday - when he is scheduled to start against Tampa Bay. Sanchez doubts if he will play.
``I don't feel like I could,'' Sanchez said. ``I'm giving it all I can out there and trying to play through it, but it doesn't feel right. It felt a little different today, the more I threw I got worse. ... It's not good.''
Sanchez wasn't pulled from the game, he said, ``Because I wanted to play through it and see what would happen if a real ground ball got hit to me.''
Sanchez, the 2006 NL batting champion and one of the league's most consistent hitters the last two seasons, had what was described as minor shoulder surgery during the final week of last season. The 15-minute procedure was designed to repair a joint problem that caused Sanchez to receive periodic shots of cortisone last season.
At the time, the Pirates said Sanchez could resume normal work outs in less than two months. But the two-time All-Star infielder's shoulder hasn't felt right since camp opened last month, though there was no suggestion until now he wouldn't be ready for the March 31 opener in Atlanta.
Sanchez feels fine at the plate - he was 1-for-3 Friday and is hitting .364, mostly as a designated hitter. The shoulder pain occurs mostly when he throws the ball.
``It's just frustrating,'' said Sanchez, who began last season on the disabled list with a knee injury but bounced back to hit .304 and drive in 81 runs in 147 games. ``Even if it was a little better than it was a couple of days ago, it would be a different story, but ...''
If Sanchez isn't ready to begin the season, non-roster infielder Luis Rivas not only might make the opening day roster but may start at second. Rivas is hitting .317 and has impressed manager John Russell with his ability to play second, shortstop and third.
The 28-year-old Rivas played 539 games at second for the Twins from 2001-05.
``He's put himself in a very good position,'' said Russell, who managed Rivas as a Twins minor leaguer. ``He has a little bit different edge this year, it kind of reminds me back when he was with Minnesota and I had him when he was young. He's got that fire now.''