"Obviously, it's not good news," he said.
Sanchez hurt himself as the fifth inning of San Francisco's 3-2 victory over Cincinnati began. He dove to his right for Brandon Phillips' grounder up the middle and gloved it before his momentum caused him to slide several feet on his right side. That extra movement apparently caused the injury to Sanchez, who could be seen howling in pain on television replays as he skidded.
Bochy and assistant athletic trainer Mark Gruesbeck hustled out to check Sanchez, who remained prostrate on the outfield grass until they helped him up and led him toward the dugout.
"When a guy can't get his words out, I knew it was something serious," said Manny Burriss, who was an eyewitness from his post at shortstop.
Sanchez, 33, appeared destined to become the fifth member of San Francisco's Opening Day starting lineup to go on the disabled list. The others were third baseman Pablo Sandoval (fractured right hamate bone), catcher Buster Posey (fracture and torn ankle ligaments in left leg), center fielder Andres Torres (strained left Achilles) and first baseman Brandon Belt (hairline fracture in left wrist). Outfielder Cody Ross (right calf), who likely would have been in the Opening Day lineup, and closer Brian Wilson (strained left side) began the season on the DL.
Despite this adversity, the Giants have found a way to scramble into first place in the National League West.
"I like to think that we're a pretty tough team," right-hander Sergio Romo said. "Our mentality doesn't waver."
Said Bochy, "It's a different group. It's a special group. They don't make excuses. They keep moving forward, and that's all you can do."
Who might step forward to replace Sanchez on the roster is unclear, though Burriss likely will become the starting second baseman. Bochy said that neither Sandoval nor infielder Mike Fontenot (left groin), who are in the midst of injury rehabilitation stints with Triple-A Fresno, is ready to leave the DL. No obvious candidates for promotion exist in the upper Minors.
Before his departure, Sanchez went 1-for-2 to lift his batting average to .289, tops among active Giants with more than 50 at-bats. He led all National League second basemen with 15 doubles entering Friday.
"It's never good to lose a player of the caliber of Freddy Sanchez," Romo said. "You can't replace him. He's been the most consistent guy on our team on both sides of the ball."