Aubrey Huff's struggles last season have carried over into 2012, and on Monday morning apparently, he sent Bruce Bochy a text message saying he had urgent matters to attend to in Florida, and had to leave the team.
|Huff Goes on Bereavement|
It took until Wednesday for the Giants to put Huff on the Bereavement List, which will give him a week to figure out his personal matters and return to the team, otherwise he'd have to go on the DL. The Giants, playing shorthanded over the last couple of games, and that big double-header Monday, have purchased the contract of Joaquin Arias, who was on fire in Fresno (.330, 2 HR, 17 RBI) and had a terrific Spring Training for the club. He'll take Huff's spot on the 25-man roster until Huff's situation is resolved, but the Giants have been hush-hush on that front and it only makes you wonder what the heck is going on. Normally, bereavement leave is reserved for players who need to leave their team to attend to family matters such as a family death, birth or illness, however, if that's the case, there's been no public knowledge of it yet. I've been so busy the last 2 days that I noticed Huff wasn't in the lineup, but I wasn't even aware that he had left the team until Wednesday morning when they did announce he would go on bereavement. Huff's started the year with a .188 average and just 1 homer and 5 RBI through April 21st, the last game he appeared in. It's caused some speculation that Huff may have gotten so frustrated with his performance, and felt like he had to get away from the team. I'm not sure I understand that concept, but it's been bantered about on radio waves and sports sites here in the Bay Area. Hopefully, for Huff's sake, everything with his family is fine. That to me is first and foremost. If he really does have a family issue to take care of, I'm glad he's got his priorities in line. Boch cleared it up a little Wednesday saying Huff has "a legitimate excuse" so hopefully he's back and clear-minded this time next week.
|Pill Needs More AB's|
Whatever it is that's caused Huff to bolt from his teammates with just a text-message as notice, it's opened up first base, for the short-term at least, for Brett Pill and Brandon Belt to possibly claim as their own. I mean, if Belt goes on a tear this next week and hits .400 with 3 homers and drives in 10 runs, would Boch really just give Huff the job back upon his return? Or if Pill continues to hit .350+ with pop and consistency, is Boch really going to take the bat out of his hands. And there's even a third party that should see an increase in PT if Huff's absence becomes something that carries on longer than expected, impressive rookie catcher Hector Sanchez. The 22 year-old has done nothing but rake in his limited ab's this season, and it's time he start getting a little more regular at-bats. If that means moving Buster out to first base, then I'm all for it. Right now, especially vs. lefties, I think Buster and Sanchez have to be in the lineup together with more regularity. As much as I like Belt's abilities and potential, Sanchez is hitting now and hitting with authority. Not only authority, but Sanchez has come up with some big hits early on, and shown he's got ice water in those veins in clutch situations. That's a sign a true winning ballplayer, a guy who comes up with the big hit that wins the game or puts your team ahead, and Sanchez has done that on more than one occasion this year, and that's impressive considering he's got a homer, 7 RBI and is hitting a hard .280 in just 7 games. And finally, this will really open the door for Schierholtz (3 HR, 9 RBI, 1.053 OPS), who along with Sandoval, have been the team's best hitters over the last 2 weeks.
Huff To DL
: The Giants have just announced, before Wednesday's game with Cincinnati, that Aubrey Huff will be moved to the 15-day DL, retroactive of April 21st, with anxiety issues. It's rare you see a guy get DL'd because of anxiety, that's like a Rick Ankiel thing from back when he was a pitcher, and it's going to be a tough thing for Huff to battle back from, especially if he continues to lose ground to Belt, Pill and Sanchez. If those guys keep hitting, it could force Huff out of the picture for good, reminiscent of what happened with Rowand and Burrell last season. At least, on a positive note, Freddy Sanchez has started his rehab assignment off well, despite being held to DH duties. He's 3 for 7 with 3 RBI in two games with San Jose. He's still at least 2 weeks away, as he's still not throwing with 100% confidence, but the fact he's out there playing is a great sign. It's been so long since Sanchez has contributed to this team, it'll be like they traded for a .300 hitting second basemen when he does return in a few weeks, granted it's a successful one.