Sanchez open to return to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Freddy Sanchez is open to returning to the San Francisco Giants next season if the situation works out for both sides.

The three-time All-Star second baseman hopes to know as soon as possible after the season whether San Francisco will pick up his $8.1 million club option. Giants general manager Brian Sabean always likes to handle such matters swiftly, but both Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy have unresolved contract situations themselves -- though indications point to them being re-signed by new managing partner Bill Neukom after the team overachieved and showed major improvement this year.

"Yeah, this is somewhere I would want to play," Sanchez said before the Giants' game against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. "The decision's not mine. If approached about being here, we would listen. If not, I'd be a free agent and I'm confident going into the free-agent market. ... That would be the goal to resolve it before free agency. That way no one's wondering."

Another factor for the club is Sanchez will undergo arthroscopic surgery next week to repair a partially torn meniscus in his troublesome left knee -- though both parties consider it a routine procedure that shouldn't slow Sanchez's offseason workout routine.

"I know this surgery is not major surgery," Sanchez said.

Sabean said the Giants expect Sanchez to "recover to full strength and his optimum ability."

The Giants very well might try to re-negotiate his contract and sign Sanchez to a multiyear deal before the free-agency period begins. San Francisco's brass certainly would like to have some continuity in the infield and Sanchez provides solid defense and a reliable bat in the No. 2 spot of the order.

"We traded for Freddy for him to be a Giant," Sabean said. "We explained to him it wasn't an in-and-out opportunity. We want to resolve it as soon as possible."

San Francisco acquired Sanchez from the Pirates on July 29 to help them make a playoff push, but he has spent more time injured than on the field. He has repeatedly called that "disappointing" and understands why fans are frustrated.

Sanchez, who also spent time on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder, re-injured his knee when he landed awkwardly while fielding a return throw from the outfield in the first inning of a 5-4 victory over Arizona last Monday.

Sanchez said he originally hurt the knee in Arizona just before the Pirates arrived in the Bay Area in late July and knew he likely would need surgery.

"I came here for a reason," he said. "Obviously it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I can feel what [the fans] are going through. I don't let that stuff get to me."

Sanchez batted .284 in 102 at-bats with the Giants after being acquired from Pittsburgh for right-handed pitching prospect Tim Alderson.

In February 2008, Sanchez received an $11 million, two-year contract from Pittsburgh. He is making $6.1 million this season and the deal includes a $600,000 buyout if his option isn't exercised.