SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel, who takes an unerring path toward every ball he fields, was similarly direct in addressing his current shortcomings. Asked why he wasn't in Tuesday's starting lineup against the Detroit Tigers, Vizquel replied, "I think [it's] because I'm not hitting the ball. And Manny's swinging the bat well."
Vizquel was referring to rookie Emmanuel Burriss, who lifted his average from .246 to .296 by hitting .417 (10-for-24) in his last 11 games before Tuesday. The switch-hitting Burriss was especially proficient batting right-handed (.419 overall, 13-for-31), making him a logical choice to face Detroit left-hander Kenny Rogers. By contrast, Vizquel has hit .184 in 29 games since returning from left knee surgery on May 10. Vizquel has struggled to establish his timing at the plate, which he would normally accomplish during spring workouts and Cactus League games. "Basically, it's like the end of Spring Training right now for me," Vizquel said. "I should be able to come through pretty soon." Vizquel also acknowledged that his knee continues to nag him -- "I'm not 100 percent. I'm still a little sore once in a while" -- although he still managed to make a dazzling game-ending play on Placido Polanco's smash in Monday's 8-6 victory over Detroit. Even if Vizquel's hitting improves, Burriss likely will continue to receive ample activity. Tuesday marked his 19th start at shortstop and 24th overall. "I think it's working out well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Manny's getting some playing time and getting a chance to watch who I think is the best shortstop in the game. It's allowed me to rest Omar more, which is what I wanted to do." Replacing Vizquel with Burriss was the only change Bochy made from Monday's lineup. Under most circumstances, Bochy might have benched left-handed batters Fred Lewis and John Bowker against Rogers. But they combined to go 5-for-9 with two home runs and six RBIs Monday. Besides, Rogers, while respectable, is not the intimidating type of left-hander who would prompt Bochy to rest Lewis or Bowker. "We won a big game [Monday]," Bochy said. "I just didn't want to change the lineup a lot." Bochy also stuck with Rich Aurilia at third base instead of Jose Castillo, who has started 60 games but was out of the lineup for the second day in a row. Entering Tuesday, Aurilia was 6-for-9 in his previous three games and owned a .353 career average (6-for-17) against Rogers.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.