Durham has been on the disabled list twice each of the past two years, and he has struggled through other stretches where he has not been 100 percent.
This news is not new. But Durhams offseason approach is.
During the winter, he employed a workout technique designed by Giants head trainer Stan Conte, strengthening his lower body. Since he sustained a horrific ankle sprain against the Braves in 2003, muscle and ligament injuries have cascaded throughout the second basemans legs, limiting potential productivity.
And Durham has had a productive offensive career. Beginning his major league tenure in 1995 with the Chicago White Sox, he enjoys a lifetime .354 on-base percentage, scoring over 100 runs five times, stealing over 20 bases eight times. And he has pop, averaging sixteen home runs a seasona considerable amount for a leadoff hitter.
But his feet have slowed with age and injuries, and he is no longer the same threat on the base paths. In the field, he does not go to his backhand well, and he will struggle with pop ups down the right field line, especially when the defensively magnanimous J.T. Snow is not there to spot him.
When healthy, Durham has been outstanding at the plate. After hitting only two home runs by the beginning of last June, he finished the season with 17 in 120 games. And he enjoyed a .467 on-base percentage during the month of September, one of the many reasons for the Giants outstanding play down the stretch.
The organization is ready to see what their second baseman can accomplish during a complete, healthy season. As is Durham. He reported six days early to camp this year, continuing his conditioning, positioning himself to achieve the campaign his ability promises, one that would shine well on the possibility of San Franciscos championship aspirations of which Ray-Ray is an integral part.
Tim Denevi is a raving Giants fan who can't decide if he would rather have Mike Aldrete or Marvin Biz-nard pinch-hitting with the game on the line. E-mail him with your opinion on any issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
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