Giants sign Bill Hall to replace Freddy Sanchez
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bill Hall was home in Arizona playing video games with his cousin when his agent called to tell him Freddy Sanchez got injured and the San Francisco Giants might need an infielder.
A little over 12 hours later, Hall was in San Francisco having signed a deal with the Giants. One week after being released by last-place Houston, Hall is now in first place in the NL West with the defending World Series champions.
"I felt like this was a good option," Hall said Saturday. "I know a lot of guys on the team. I'm in first place now. That helps. From what I've heard his is a great clubhouse, a good organization."
Hall works out in the offseason with Giants outfielders Pat Burrell and Cody Ross, and hopes to follow their pattern and rejuvenate his career after joining the team.
Hall struggled this season with the Astros, batting .224 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 46 games. But he hit 18 homers a year ago in Boston and is a reliable option in the infield and outfield, making him the perfect choice for the Giants when Sanchez went down.
"Hopefully, I still have a lot of baseball to play," he said. "Things didn't go as planned in Houston so we both decided it wasn't going to be a lasting relationship. Just had a little bit of a divorce. Obviously I played well last year for Boston. Your skills don't diminish overnight. I'm not worried about that part."
He had played exclusively at second base this season, but also has extensive experience at third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He said he's most comfortable right now at second base, which is where the Giants will need him with Sanchez on the disabled list.
"He got off to a little bit of a slow start in Houston, but he's coming off a good year last year," manager Bruce Bochy said. "To have a guy like this available and it's a need for us, we're fortunate. ... We need some depth right now and he gives us that at every position in the infield and outfield. He has some power, speed, so we're glad to have him."
Sanchez dislocated his right shoulder Friday night diving for a grounder up the middle. He made a backhand grab of Brandon Phillips' sharp grounder in the fifth inning, using his right hand to brace himself as he slid on the edge of the outfield grass. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday and was to have an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury.
Sanchez led the Giants in batting at the time of the injury with a .289 average, three homers and 24 RBIs. He had been batting third with starting catcher Buster Posey out for the season with a broken bone in his lower left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is out with an injured right wrist, hopes to return next week.
The Giants also signed first-round pick shortstop Joseph Panik of St. John's to a contract. Panik, a left-handed slugger who led the Red Storm with a .398 batting average, was taken with the 29th overall pick. He will start his pro career with Class-A Salem-Kaiser.