Healthy Renteria ready for new season with Giants
AP Baseball Writer
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Edgar Renteria rolled his left shoulder back a couple of times to get loose, a regular thing for him each morning. And afternoon. And evening.
San Francisco’s shortstop is doing a lot of extra stretching and exercises these days in an effort to make sure his body holds up for an entire season. He was limited to 124 games in 2009 in his first year with the Giants, largely because of two aching shoulders and a troublesome right elbow that required surgery late in the season to remove bone chips and spurs.
He played in pain all year.
“I’m stretching two or three times a day,” Renteria said while getting ready for Saturday’s split-squad game at Seattle. “We’re still working to get strong. I feel much better. No pain. Hopefully everything is good going forward.”
Manager Bruce Bochy repeatedly has said he will give Renteria every chance to show what he can do. The 33-year-old Renteria signed a two-year, $18.5 million contract in December 2008 after he batted .270 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs for the Tigers. Detroit declined its $11 million option for Renteria after the season and gave him a $3 million buyout.
The five-time NL All-Star had big shoes to fill: He replaced 11-time Gold Glover Omar Vizquel.
“He’s feeling good,” said super sub and utility infielder Juan Uribe. “He’s a great player. I’m here for whenever the team needs me: second base one day, shortstop one day, third one day.”
Renteria won a World Series ring with the 1997 Florida Marlins and a pennant in 2004 with St. Louis – and he’s someone the Giants acquired to help them get back to the playoffs. San Francisco hasn’t reached the postseason since 2003, but is considered a contender in 2010 after staying in the NL wild-card race until mid-September last year.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Renteria said. “We have a good chance to make the playoffs. I believe in this team. We have more help.”
Renteria batted a career-low .250 with five home runs and 48 RBIs last season.
Each day at spring training he is becoming more comfortable with his health and increasingly trusting his body. Renteria has his share of skeptics, especially considering how great Uribe has been.
Uribe was a non-roster invitee to spring training last year, but emerged as one of the team’s most steady players down the stretch. The 30-year-old Uribe began the 2009 campaign as a backup but wound up playing in 122 games at third, shortstop and second for San Francisco. He batted .289 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs.
In January, Uribe received a $3.25 million, one-year contract, and general manager Brian Sabean has said he could very well contribute even more in 2010.
There are plenty of fans and baseball experts who believe Uribe deserves a chance to be the regular shortstop.
Still, Bochy will give Renteria his shot.
“I don’t put any pressure on myself,” Renteria said. “I’ve shown for 14 years. I don’t need to show nobody. That’s always how I’ve been in this game. I don’t say anything. I just play.”