SAN FRANCISCO The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants suffered a double injury blow on Monday with the loss of two key players set to hamper the team's chances of a title repeat.
All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who dislocated his shoulder on June 10, will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday, while starting pitcher Barry Zito is returning to the disabled list because of a nagging right foot sprain.
Sanchez, a .289 hitter this season and an infield mainstay, had been working his way back to full fitness in the hope of returning to the line-up but was unable to restore comfort in his throwing shoulder.
"We were still optimistic that he could find a way to rehab and get to a point where he could help us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the team website (sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com).
"But as each day went by, we knew his chances were diminishing. It's at a point where we have to make a decision to make sure he's ready for next year."
Zito was sidelined earlier this season with his foot injury, but came off the DL on June 28 and strung together a few solid starts before losing form.
Compiling a modest 3-4 record and a 5.62 ERA this season, the left-hander has allowed 19 runs in 15 2/3 innings over his last three starts, walking eight batters.
National League West division-leading San Francisco (61-48) will activate left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to fill the void left by Zito, who has not been given a return date.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)