Wednesday, April 25, 2012

San Francisco Giants: 'Personal Issue' Is Bad Timing For Aubrey Huff

There seems to be no timetable for Aubrey Huff's return to the San Francisco Giants, but the absence from the team could not come at worse time and could end up costing Huff his job.

Huff has been away from the team after he took a flight to Florida on Monday morning to handle a "personal issue."

Bochy confirmed on Tuesday that the issue was in fact legitimate, after many perceived that Huff's absence from the team had something to do with one of his worst games in recent memory, which included an 0-for-4 day at the plate against the New York Mets and missed coverage on a double play that ended up costing the Giants the game.

Huff has since been away from the team, but Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly reports that Bochy is sure that Huff's "personal issue" has nothing to do with his play on the field.

Told about widespread fan suspicion over the timing of Huff's departure, 48 hours after he had one of his worst games as a Giant and took a heavy dose of criticism for failing to cover second base in Saturday's loss at New York, Bochy said Huff's personal issue is absolutely legitimate.
That question has to be asked, though.  Huff has had a miserable season following a miserable 2010-11 season.  With two first basemen on the Giants' roster that are very capable of filling San Francisco's need both in the lineup and on the field, it was only fitting that the issue of Huff "going away for awhile" per team authority would come up.

For Huff, this absence from the team could not come at a worse time, as Brandon Belt and Brett Pill are breathing down his neck in terms of getting him out of the lineup for good this season.

The situation gives Pill the best chance at showcasing his skills without anyone in his rearview mirror.  We all know what the Giants' brass thinks of Belt and the mechanics of his swing, and Pill has been producing on a consistent basis when called into the lineup.

Pill is batting .353 with one homerun and three RBI in just 17 games played this season.

Huff was batting .182 before he left the team, and Belt has been nowhere near sturdy with his .241 batting average this season and the probability of him being sent down to AAA-Fresno when second baseman Freddy Sanchez returns from injury.

If Huff's role on this team was not already on the line, it sure is now, no matter what the "legitimate personal issue" is.

Baggarly is also reporting that Bochy plans to meet with GM Brian Sabean to discuss the situation, which can only mean that this issue may be bigger than it seems.  The bereavement list would appear to be in Huff's future, which only requires him to miss a minimum of three games (check) and a maximum of seven games.

The bereavement list is not an indefinite indication of where Huff is with this team or with the "personal issue," but it is telling of how satisfied the Giants are with replacing his at-bats during his time away from the team.

A player like Pill can win this first base job going away if he can produce in Huff's extended absence.

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