Giants Claim Alex Sanchez Off Waivers

The Giants claim the former Tampa Bay outfielder off of waivers, and add another player to a crowded outfield picture.

The San Francisco Giants claimed Alex Sanchez, 28, off of waivers on Thursday from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

"He'll pinch-hit, pinch-run and play some outfield," Giants manager Felipe Alou said after his acquisition. "We need to see him and play him and get him into our situation. He has two very good tools -- he can hit and he can run."

Alex Sanchez had been reduced to a backup role in Tampa Bay. In 2005, he had been hitting .346/.373/.466 in 133 at bats, with 8 doubles, 1 triple and 2 home runs. He has 6 stolen bases in 9 attempts. His salary this year is $600,000, which the Giants will be responsible for just about half of.

Sanchez, who has previously played in Milwaukee and Detroit before joining Tampa Bay this year, gained notoriety when he became the first player in major league baseball to be suspended for testing positive for banned substances in April. Sanchez blamed the positive test on something he bought over the counter but did not know was banned due to the complicated definitions in the new steroids rule. He did not appeal the suspension, though.

Sanchez was designated for assignment by the Devil Rays on June 13th. "He expressed the desire that he wanted to play everyday," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said about his release. "We can understand that, but he wasn't going to do it here. He talked about wanting to go elsewhere, now he's going to get an opportunity."

Sanchez may not get his wish in San Francisco. San Francisco’s picture in the outfield is crowded as it is, with the likelihood of getting more crowded in the near future. Ellison has taken over the fulltime starting job in center field, and Moises Alou is a starter in either left or right field. Todd Linden, who the Giants want to have playing every day, is currently starting in right field. Pedro Feliz, who had been playing left field, is starting at third while Edgardo Alfonzo is on the disabled list, and may be looked at to return to the outfield when Alfonzo returns. Michael Tucker is backing up all three outfield positions. And then, of course, there is both Marquis Grissom and Barry Bonds on the disabled list currently as well. Adam Shabala is also currently with the team as a 5th outfielder.

"We're going to give this guy a chance to play baseball," said Alou. "Every year someone gets traded or released and he comes and gets better somewhere else. That's what we're hoping for here."

Sanchez will join the team on Friday when the Giants open a series in Oakland. The Giants will make a move to add Sanchez then.

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