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PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, last year's NL batting champion, will sit out the final five games of the season because of a shoulder injury that will require arthroscopic surgery on Friday.
The procedure will essentially repair a separated shoulder and is not expected to set back his offseason conditioning program. The shoulder is expected to be normal within six to eight weeks.
``It's something where I've had to take a cortisone shot once a month or maybe six weeks,'' Sanchez said following the Pirates' 5-1 victory over Arizona on Wednesday night. ``It would go away, then it would come back. They say it will take only 15 minutes, and it's a great time to get it cleaned up. I'll definitely be ready for my offseason workouts.''
Sanchez played Tuesday against Arizona, going 1-for-3 before leaving in the seventh inning with blurry vision. He will finish the season with a .304 average, 11 homers and 81 RBIs, a year after his .344 average was the highest by a Pirates regular since Roberto Clemente's .345 in 1969.
Sanchez missed nearly all of spring training because of a knee injury, and got off to a slow start with a .224 average in April. His average was up to .318 on Sept. 3 before he went 6-for-38.
Despite that slump, Sanchez had a .329 average over the final seven weeks of the season. His 146 starts were the most by a Pirates second baseman since Tony Womack made 149 in 1998.
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