As he continued to languish on the disabled list since the beginning of the 2012 season while trying to return from right shoulder surgery and a subsequent back ailment, the prognosis seemed to become increasingly dim for San Francisco Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez' 11th Major League Baseball campaign ever getting started.
Any remaining hope of seeing Sanchez on the field this season was snuffed out for good when it was reported on Thursday that the former Burbank High and Glendale Community College standout underwent season-ending back surgery.
"We still remain optimistic that we can have him," Giants Manager Bruce Bochy told mlb.com. "But this is a definite, now, that he won't be back this year."
Chris Haft of mlb.com reported on the Giants' official website that Sanchez underwent a procedure to remove part of a disc from his back on Thursday, while numerous other outlets, including CBS San Francisco and NBC Sports, reported Sanchez had a microdiscectomy performed by Dr. Robert Watkins on Wednesday.
CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reported the surgery went as planned.
Either way, the latest setback for Sanchez likely spells the end of his career with the Giants, which included a World Series championship in 2010.
Sanchez is currently in his final season under contract with the Giants, who signed him to a one-year, $6 million extension in April, 2011.
Less than two months later, Sanchez was lost for 2011 when he dislocated his right shoulder while diving for a batted ball in a game against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park. After undergoing labrum and rotator cuff surgery on Aug. 1, Sanchez hoped to be back for Opening Day, but never played in the field in spring training and has been on the DL ever since. The back injury suffered during his rehab work proved to be his ultimate undoing, though.
Since being acquired by the Giants in a midseason trade in 2009, Sanchez, a three-time All-Star and the 2006 National League batting titlist, has also had arthroscopic left knee surgery in Sept. 2009 and left shoulder surgery in Dec. 2010. He hit .290 with 11 home runs and 78 runs batted in in 196 games with San Francisco.
He earned a place in Giants lore, though, by helping the Giants win their first title since 1954 and the first in San Francisco. He distinguished himself in postseason history by becoming the first player to record doubles in his first three World Series at-bats.
"You know he's disappointed," Bochy said. "He played a critical role in our success in 2010."