Meet The Giants - Ray Durham

Meet The Giants - Ray Durham

When the Giants signed Ray Durham, it was clear they were pursuing and getting one of the premier leadoff men and most productive second basemen in the game. And though he's produced, he has yet to play a full year, battling injuries and his first disabled list stints of his career. Now, in his 3rd year with the Giants, Durham is ready to show everyone what the Giants paid for.

Ray Durham’s tenure in San Francisco had been measured by periods of brilliance—a brilliance bracketed with frequent and painful injuries.

Durham has been on the disabled list twice each of the past two years, and he has struggled through other stretches where he has not been 100 percent.

This news is not new. But Durham’s offseason approach is.

During the winter, he employed a workout technique designed by Giants head trainer Stan Conte, strengthening his lower body. Since he sustained a horrific ankle sprain against the Braves in 2003, muscle and ligament injuries have cascaded throughout the second baseman’s legs, limiting potential productivity.

And Durham has had a productive offensive career. Beginning his major league tenure in 1995 with the Chicago White Sox, he enjoys a lifetime .354 on-base percentage, scoring over 100 runs five times, stealing over 20 bases eight times. And he has pop, averaging sixteen home runs a season—a considerable amount for a leadoff hitter.

But his feet have slowed with age and injuries, and he is no longer the same threat on the base paths. In the field, he does not go to his backhand well, and he will struggle with pop ups down the right field line, especially when the defensively magnanimous J.T. Snow is not there to spot him.

When healthy, Durham has been outstanding at the plate. After hitting only two home runs by the beginning of last June, he finished the season with 17 in 120 games. And he enjoyed a .467 on-base percentage during the month of September, one of the many reasons for the Giants’ outstanding play down the stretch.

The organization is ready to see what their second baseman can accomplish during a complete, healthy season. As is Durham. He reported six days early to camp this year, continuing his conditioning, positioning himself to achieve the campaign his ability promises, one that would shine well on the possibility of San Francisco’s championship aspirations of which Ray-Ray is an integral part.



Tim Denevi is a raving Giants fan who can't decide if he would rather have Mike Aldrete or Marvin Biz-nard pinch-hitting with the game on the line. E-mail him with your opinion on any issue at denevi@hawaii.edu

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