Frandsen in 3 Way Race For 2nd Base

San Jose native in same spot at last year

San Francisco's Bruce Bochy wants a second baseman who is going to play well in all facets of the game.

He will pick from among three candidates -- Kevin Frandsen, Emmanuel Burriss and Eugenio Velez -- in what is the most wide-open position battle in the Giants camp this spring.

Frandsen was in the same situation last spring, vying with veteran Ray Durham for the job, before suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon on March 24 that kept him for 5 months and limited him to one pinch-hit appearance last season.

Burriss and Velez were two of the six Giants to start at second last year, each playing regularly for a stretch after Durham was traded to Milwaukee on July 20.

"It will be later in the spring before we know who will be out there ... as competitive as I think it is going to be," Bochy said. "We want a guy who is going to give us good defense but also help provide some offense. I think we are going to need offensive production throughout the order."

Frandsen, who bats right-handed, is the most accomplished hitter of the three at this stage of his career after hitting .370 in September of 2007 to elevate himself into the mix last spring.

He also hit .331 with nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs for Scottsdale in the 2008 Arizona Fall League, allaying fears about any lingering effects of his Achilles injury.

"Having a year off, everyone will question that. I kind of understand that, but also I think playing in the Fall League and doing what I did proved a lot," said Frandsen, 26. "Everywhere I've gone I've hit when I've gotten the opportunity to play every day. I think I've shown that. All it is opportunity. If you get the opportunity, you want to take the job and hopefully run with it for a long time."

Velez, 26, made 49 starts at second base last year -- second to Durham's 62 -- and was the regular in September, starting 17 of the final 18 games. He hit .341 in September and had ninth-inning, game-winning hits to beat Arizona on Sept. 10 and 12. He hit .262 with seven triples and 15 stolen bases in 275 at-bats overall, although his on-base percentage was only .299.

With eight starts in the outfield, his versatility is a plus. He had 64 minor league stolen bases in 2006 and 54 in 2007.

Burriss, 24, split time between shortstop and second base last season after being recalled from Class AAA Fresno on April 20, making 33 starts at shortstop and 32 at second base.

A supplemental pick after the first round in 2006, Burriss hit .283 with eight extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases in 240 at-bats. He also runs well, with 68 stolen bases at two minor league stops in 2007. Both Velez and Burriss are switch-hitters.

"It's one of those situations, we are all buddies," said Burriss, who played only shortstop until last year. "We're pushing each other. If I win the position and the team doesn't do anything, that's not going to help anybody. This game is such a team sport, we are not really focused on ourselves. We're worried about having a team success rather than individual success."

NOTES: Velez missed another day of workouts because of the flu bug that is running through camp. Pablo Sandoval and Rich Aurilia participated despite being weakened. ... Left-hander Noah Lowry, who missed the previous two days because of the illness, was unable to pitch off a mound and threw off flat ground instead. ... Left-handers Randy Johnson and Barry Zito will be among the pitchers who will throw one inning in a intrasquad game Tuesday. That indicates that Johnson will pitch the third game of the exhibition season against Kansas City on Friday and Zito will pitch the fourth exhibition game Saturday against Seattle. ... Outfielders Fred Lewis (bunion) and Nate Schierholtz (hamstring), who had been hitting all spring, are expected to participate in running drills for the first time Monday, Bochy said. Lewis should be ready for the start of the exhibition season Wednesday, Bochy said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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