Giants Notes: Sanchez Back On Track

Freddy Sanchez starting to hit. Buster Posey back in training mode. Matt Cain a Yankee? Here's the latest offseason news about your San Francisco Giants.

--2B Freddy Sanchez has started to hit, as scheduled. He was supposed to begin swinging after Jan. 1, and indeed Sanchez began hitting off a tee. Recovering from surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder, Sanchez began throwing early in December. Throwing is more of an issue than hitting for Sanchez, and he'll be eased in to spring training. He expects to be a couple of weeks behind his teammates, but he vowed to be ready for the opener.

--C Buster Posey is back in training mode after taking time off in December, returning to throwing and hitting early in January. Posey's season ended in May when he was clobbered at the plate by Scott Cousins of the Marlins, and he continues to recover from ankle and leg surgeries. Without Posey, the Giants missed the playoffs, but he's expected to return as a key member of the lineup, though manager Bruce Bochy said the catcher will play a decent number of games at first base.

--RHP Matt Cain a Yankee? It's been speculated in New York that because the Yankees were mostly silent this offseason, they will be ready to strike next winter, when Cain and LHP Cole Hamels of the Phillies could be free agents. The Giants are hoping to extend Cain's contract before he's eligible for free agency, but the possibility exists he could play out his contract and test the open market. If so, the Yankees easily could be top bidders.

--OF Carlos Beltran stole one base in three attempts as a Giant. No big deal, right? Well, Giants' fans might not have known it in the final weeks of the season, but Beltran actually has the highest all-time success rate in steals among players with at least 300 attempts -- 87.7 percent. The stat came to life when baseball writers wrote of Tim Raines' Hall of Fame candidacy. On the HOF ballot, it's stated that Raines is second all time in success rate among players with 300 attempts. A little more research showed that Beltran was No. 1, but that hardly matters for Giants' fans after management announced no money was available for Beltran, who took his lethal bat to St. Louis.

--OF Don Mueller, a key to the New York Giants' rally that culminated with the Shot Heard 'Round the World, died at age 84. Mueller's single helped set up Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run that beat the Dodgers and finished a historic comeback in 1951. Mueller actually was carried off the field in that eventful inning, after he injured his ankle sliding into third base on Whitey Lockman's double. The next batter, Thomson, hit his legendary home run.

BY THE NUMBERS: 55-9 -- Giants' record in 2011 when they scored four or more runs, tops in the majors, which is confirmation that they were an all-pitch, no-hit team.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Yeah, I'd like to keep that option with Buster (Posey). With him coming off his injury, there's a little question how much we can catch him back there, and we'll know more in spring training. But playing first occasionally, particularly against a left-handed pitcher to get another right-handed bat in there, will help him and help us. We'd like to have that available." -- Manager Bruce Bochy.

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