Results tagged ‘ Buster Posey ’

Buster Posey gets shingles, Tim Lincecum gets a haircut, Brandon Belt gets the shaft

Wednesday started out as just as any other mid-week day after a day off in Denver that followed a Barry Zito shutout.

Then things got REALLY wacky.

First came the announced lineup for Wednesday’s game at Colorado that did not include Brandon Belt.

This came just two days after manager Bruce Bochy said, when talking about Belt’s day off on Monday: “I think we’re getting a little caught up here. There’s no panic (with Belt).” And then he said Belt would be back out there on Wednesday.

Then Wednesday’s come, and no Belt. What?

We’re guessing Bochy wanted to get Nate Schierholtz his first start on Wednesday. Then after doing that, he looked at the lineup that would have had a struggling Belt No. 5 followed by Schierholtz No. 6, then Brandon Crawford and Emmanuel Burriss, and he didn’t like it. So Aubrey Huff, who had a nice game Monday, gets the start.

OK, it’s not unreasonable. But with the lefty Jamie Moyer starting Thursday, we would expect Brett Pill to start at first base. That means no Belt starting the entire Rockies series, which is a lovely park for a struggling hitter to find his stroke.

Then, Lincecum showed up to the park with four inches of hair lopped off, saying that he “just wanted a haircut.”

But that story would take a backseat to the next nugget: Buster Posey was out of the lineup with shingles.

Shingles is triggered by the same virus that causes chicken pox, leading to painful blisters. Posey has blisters on his arm, left shoulder and back. Posey said he had chicken pox as a young child, but the virus stays dormant in the box and can be flared by a cold, lack of sleep or stress.

So beware Ozzie Guillen.

Posey said he started to feel worn down toward the end of spring training and the blisters began to emerge Sunday.

“You feel zapped,” he told CSNBayArea’s Andew Baggarly. “I just feel worn down still. I’m planning on being in there (Thursday), though.”

Posey has been told the condition generally clears in four or five days, but can last as long as three weeks.

Given that, we wouldn’t be surprised if Posey plays first base on Thursday, with Sanchez drawing another start behind the plate.

Still two hours until game time, and no word if Brian Wilson is clean-shaven or not.

Rangers 4, Giants 1: Buster Posey safe at home

BOX SCORE

It seems with every game Buster Posey plays this spring, he hits a new milestone in his recovery from last year’s season-ending injury.

On Friday against the Rangers, it was Posey first play at home since getting bulled over by the Marlins’ Scott Cousins.

But by all accounts, Posey passed this test, like he’s passed just about all other tests this spring.

Well, except, the runner wasn’t out. But who cares? Posey was not hurt.

“One run’s not worth him missing the whole year again,” pitcher Madison Bumgarner put it.

The play came in the fifth inning, with the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland on second when Elvis Andrus singled to center.

Angel Pagan came up throwing home on the play. It was a good throw. Posey positioned himself in front of home plate, a bit more out in front than on the Cousins play last May. Moreland then came into the plate wide with a hook side.

Posey fielded the throw, then lunged at Moreland with a sweep tag. At first it appeared that Posey missed Moreland all together. But Posey said he tagged him high. It’s hard to say whether Moreland’s hand swiped the plate before Posey’s tag.

Even though every one else in the park might have been thinking about it, Posey said he wasn’t thinking back to last May when the play developed.

“I was more thinking kind of about the work we’d done this spring and all the practice and stuff,” Posey said. “And I think … it was was good.”

It may have been the first play at the plate, but it won’t be Posey’s last. But again, it’s a step.

Oh and the home plate umpire who made the call at the plate? Derryl Cousins, oddly enough. No relation.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Somewhat lost in the hub-bub of the Posey play at the plate was the fact that it appeared that the Giants were headed to their second consecutive shutout loss. That is until Brett Pill’s home run in the ninth inning. It was Pill’s third homer this spring and second in three days as he makes a late push to make the club.
  • 1B Brandon Belt, also competing to make the club, went 2 for 3 with a walk. He’s hitting .348 this spring.
  • Aubrey Huff, getting the start in left, had a double over the center fielder’s head in left-center. It was Huff’s first double of the spring.
  • Ryan Theriot started at 3B and went 0 for 3, dropping his spring average to .200 — although he was robbed of an infield hit by a bad call at first.
  • Meanwhile, Emmanuel Burriss started at 2B and went 2 for 3, raising his averge to .436.
  • Madison Bumgarner gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings (the run coming on that play at the plate). But he also gave up eight hits, all singles. In fact, the Rangers had 13 hits in the game, all singles.
  • Javier Lopez got tagged for three runs on four singles in the ninth.
  • Sergio Romo returned to action after sitting out with a cranky elbow. He had a 1-2-3 eighth with a strikeout.

UP NEXT

The Giants have their final split-squad day of the spring. Both are 1:05 p.m. games. Matt Cain will start on the road against the Reds. Posey will start at 1B in that game. Minor leaguer Travis Blackley will start in Scottsdale against the Rockies.

Giants health report: Sanchez, Vogelsong, Wilson, Posey

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

The Giants hope that Freddy Sanchez will play his first game in the field on Friday.

Maybe.

Sanchez is slated to take infield practice on Thursday. If he shows manager Bruce Bochy what he wants to see, then Sanchez will play at second base Friday. If not, then he won’t.

And if he doesn’t play in the field Friday, it’s time to really start thinking about Sanchez missing opening day.

Sanchez even admitted Monday that it’s “getting late here.”

“The big thing is double plays,” Sanchez said. “I’m not getting as much on my throws as I should.”

RYAN VOGELSONG: The news was better on Vogelsong. He is scheduled to make his spring training debut on Saturday, when he’ll pitch one inning in the home split-squad game against the Rockies.

Bochy said the plan is to get Vogelsong up to five innings and 70 pitches by the end of spring training. But it’s a narrow window.

If Saturday is his first start, he would get two more starts before the start of the season on normal rest: March 29 vs. the Rangers and April 3 vs. the Athletics in Oakland. That would align him to make his first regular-season start on April 9 at Colorado.

Bochy said that Vogelsong will throw only one inning in the game because “he’ll be amped and we don’t want any setbacks.”

Translation: He’ll likely throw more in the bullpen after his one inning Saturday. He threw 40 pitches in a live BP session on Tuesday.

Still, it seems extremely tight. It would make more sense to use the April 10 off day to skip Vogey’s turn and have him open season on April 15 at home vs. Pirates.

BRIAN WILSON: The Giants said they are taking the foot off the accelerator on Wilson’s pitching schedule after The Beard reported mild arm soreness.

Wilson last pitched Saturday and had been throwing every three days. The Giants have pushed him back to Thursday.

He played catch Wednesday and looked fine, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. Bochy said if it had been the regular season, Wilson would have pitched.

Wilson has hit 96 mph on the gun this spring, and Bochy called this normal spring soreness.

OK. But, still, hmmm.

BUSTER POSEY: Posey caught a spring-high six innings Tuesday and looked good when he pounced on a bunt attempt and threw out the batter at first.

“Buster looks fine,” Bochy said. “We’ll start cranking it up a little bit here.”

The next step is catching back-to-back games, which could come soon. Posey was in the lineup Wednesday as a DH.

Many fans and media members have commented that opening day is two weeks away and Posey is only catching six innings.

It’s not that he CAN’T catch a full game. It’s that the Giants are taking it conservatively, trying not to push things, waiting to see how Posey reacts.

So far, Posey has responded well to every step he has taken this spring.

Giants 2, Indians 2: Busting out

BOX SCORE

It was great to see Buster Posey catching again.

It was great to see Buster Posey swinging the bat in a game again.

But we were thinking Wednesday, it would be really great to see Buster Posey get a hit again.

Posey put together three 0-fers in his first three spring training games, and that stretch extended to 0 for 8 in Wednesday’s game against the Indians.

But in his third at-bat Wednesday, Posey drove a Tony Sipp fastball the opposite way over the right-field wall for his first spring hit — a home run.

“I thought I hit it pretty good,” Posey said. “I’m just glad I hit it hard. That’s the goal every time.”

It was another good sign on Posey’s road to recovery.

There have been some talking heads who have doubting whether Posey will be fully recovered by opening day.

Posey is not one of them.

“I think I’ve been lucky as far as not having any setbacks,” he said. “I don’t know if I need to knock on wood or what. But I think we’ve got a game plan the rest of the way through. I’ll be ready on April 6.”

The now is for Posey to take Thursday off and catch again on Friday. He hopes to catch six innings in a game next week.

And as far as knocking on wood? Yes, Buster, you do need to knock on wood. Base knocks. Keep ‘em coming.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gregor Blanco continues to give the Giants reason to think. He went 1 for 3 with a walk. Blanco drew a walk to open the game (a rarity for the Giants in 2011). He was moving on Melky Cabrera’s grounder to first. When Cabrera was thrown out with the pitcher covering first, Blanco scooted all the way to third base. That allowed him to score on Pablo Sandoval’s ground out. Manager Bruce Bochy said the decision to keep Blanco on the 25-man roster will likely go right down to the wire. “He’s certainly intriguing, isn’t he?” Bochy said.
  • Matt Cain gave up two runs on five hits and walk in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four. One run allowed scored on an inning-ending double play when Asdrubel Cabrera came across the plate before the Giants could complete a tag-out double play in the first. The other run scored when Mitch Lively came into relieve Cain in the fourth and allowed an inherited runner to score from third on a wild pitch.
  • Relievers Brian Wilson, Javier Lopez, Clay Hensley and Dan Otero each recorded 1-2-3 innings.
  • Not sure if it’s a cause of concern, but the Giants’ bats have gone a little cold in recent days. They were limited to four singles andPosey’s home run on Wednesday. They also struck out eight times with only one walk — the walk to Blanco to open the game. But this early in spring, hitters prefer to swing the bat than take pitches. For example, the Indians struck out 14 times with just one walk.

UP NEXT

Barry Zito takes the mound at the Giants face the Mariners in a 7:05 p.m. at Peoria. The game will be televised live on the MLB Network.

Giants 7, Mariners 5: Beard appeared, so fans cheered

BOX SCORE

The Giants won another spring training game, beating the Mariners to improve to 7-3. But the real story was the progress of Buster Posey and the return of Brian Wilson.

Posey made his second spring start, catching four innings and going 0 for 2.

“I felt good today and I was happy again with how my ankle felt,” Posey said.

Posey grounded out to short in the second and grounded out to third in third, both against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

“I got ahead 2-0 in both at-bats,” he said. “I saw some good pitches in the first at-bat. Got a pretty good pitch 2-0, just rolled over it. I feel good at the plate … I feel like I’m seeing the ball well.”

Posey said the plan was to catch four more innings Tuesday against the Cubs, but manager Bruce Bochy would see how the catch feels Monday before finalizing Posey’s next appearance.

Wilson made his first spring appearance as the Giants take a cautious approach after The Beard’s elbow problems last season.

He was slated to throw between 20-25 pitches, but needed only nine to get through a scoreless fourth inning.

Wilson threw only fastballs and cutters, with his fastball clocked at 93-94 MPH.

“The ball was coming out really well,” Posey said. “The cutter was good. He looked great.”

Posey and Wilson finished their day with a flourish, with Wilson striking out Vinnie Catricala and Posey hosing Carlos Peguero trying to steal second in a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play.

“It’s nice to see Buster behind the dish throwing people out,” Wilson said. “Although the ideal situation is not to have a guy on. But I’ll take it.”

Wilson is scheduled to pitch again Wednesday against the Indians.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Another day and Melky Cabrera continues to rake. He went 2 for 3 with two RBI. He’s hitting .542.
  • Another young catcher shined on Sunday. Hector Sanchez belted home runs from each side of the plate, finishing 2 for 2 with 3 RBI. He’s hitting .500.
  • OF Gregor Blanco continues to give the Giants something to think about, going 2 for 3 with a stolen base. He’s hitting .474 in his push to make the club as a reserve outfielder.
  • Emmanuel Burris went 2 for 3 with two runs and a stolen base. He started at 2B, but moved to 3B late in the game, where he committed a throwing error.
  • C Chris Stewart, known for his defense, had rough day behind the plate, allowing a run to score on a passed ball and committing a throwing error.
  • P Eric Surkamp, the first candidate to step into the rotation in case of injury, bounced back from a rough first start. He gave up a run on three hits and three strikeouts in three innings.

UP NEXT

Tim Lincecum is slated to take the mound as the Giants take on the Royals in Surprise at 1:05 p.m.

Giants 6, Reds 3: Buster and Freddy back on the field

BOX SCORE

Don’t worry, Matt Cain. We still love you.

When Cain left the bullpen Friday and walked onto the field at Scottsdale Stadium, he was greeted by huge roar from the Giants fans.

“I thought everybody really loved me,” Cain quipped. “And then I looked behind me and saw Buster.”

Buster Posey returned to live action for the first time since May 25 of last year, catching Cain two innings and flying out to right in his lone at-bat in the Giants’ win over the Reds.

“It was fun,” Posey said. “I’ve put in a lot of work. Even though it was only two innings, it was nice to be out there.”

Posey will get Saturday off, then return Sunday to catch four inning, according to manager Bruce Bochy.

“It was good to see Buster back out there playing again,” Bochy said. “I know he was excited. It was great to see the ovation he got when he walked out to the bullpen. … Everyone was happy to see Buster playing again.”

Well, that’s for sure. And it was also good to see Freddy Sanchez, too.

Sanchez went 1 for 4 as the Giants designated hitter Friday in his first game since a shoulder injury ended his season last June. But the big test will come Monday, when he plays his first game at second base.

“Playing defense will be a big stepping stone for me,” said Sanchez, who will DH again on Saturday and Sunday. “I feel like I’m getting a little stronger each day.”

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Matt Cain pitched three scoreless innings, giving up three hits, no walks and striking out four. He has not allowed a run in five innings this spring.
  • OF Melky Cabrera continues to rake. He went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer in the third inning. He’s hitting .588.
  • Aubrey Huff made his first spring start in left field. He went 0 for 3 and is hitting .214 this spring.
  • Meanwhile, Brandon Belt came off the bench and replaced Nate Schierholtz in right field. He went 2 for 2 with a double and an eighth-inning home run. He’s hitting .389.

UP NEXT

The Giants play split-squad games on Saturday. Barry Zito will start at Scottsdale against the Brewers, where he won’t have Prince Fielder to throw at anymore. Right-hander Shane Loux gets the start in Tempe against the Angels.

Posey, Sanchez set for Giants spring debut Friday

Giants fans got the confirmation Thursday morning that they’ve been waiting for since last May.

Buster Posey will play in a Giants uniform on Friday against the Reds.

“The plan is to catch a couple innings tomorrow,” Posey told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday morning. “I’m excited.”

He’s not the only one.

Posey ran the basepaths and noticed significant improvement.

When asked by a reporter to give a percentage of how hard he was running, Posey replied with a question of his own.

“How hard do you think I was running?” he asked with a smile.

When Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman said about 80 percent, Posey replied: “I guess Henry doesn’t think I have much left in the tank.”

All joking aside, Posey said he was running at about 60-70 percent effort after running on the outfield cut of the grass on Monday. He’s expected to run bases again Thursday.

“I’m happy I’ve been able to do baseball activities,” Posey said. “We knew from the time I was injured (last May) that bases would be the last thing to come. We’ve been lucky everything has gone smoothly as it has.”

Freddy Sanchez also is expected to make his spring debut Friday, as the designated hitter.

Sanchez, who had shoulder surgery last August, practiced throwing across his body from second base for the first time Wednesday. But the Giants will continue to take a conservative approach with him.

Both Posey and Sanchez hit live batting practice against Brian Wilson on Wednesday.

Wilson, who is coming off elbow troubles last year, declared himself ready to go.

“I’m totally ready ready, and now I have three days to prepare myself.”

Wilson will make his spring debut Sunday or Monday.

Good news for Giants reliever Runzler

The last thing Dan Runzler wanted to do this spring was take a flight to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews.

But the report from the doctor was good, and the left-hander could be back pitching in games by mid-to-late April.

Runzler took his lat muscle in the regular-season finale. He had been healthy this spring until he felt something grab in his shoulder during a bullpen session late last week.

But Andrews said that Runzler only aggravated the injury and would not require surgery.

“It definitely put my head at ease,” Runzler told CSNBayArea.com. “He compared the MRIs before and after and said it was just a small aggravation. It’s not like I re-did it. He was very optimistic.”

Runzler said he should be game ready in four to six weeks.

That will take him out of the running for the final bullpen spot, expected to go to Clay Hensley.

Runzler expects to open the season in extended spring training. Then, he’ll likely head to Fresno

Giants spring injury update

The Giants received some encouraging news on some of their ailing or rehabbing stars. We may see all (or at least most) of the Giants in a spring training game by the end of the week.

BUSTER POSEY: Posey really wanted to be ready to for last Saturday’s spring opener. He was close, but the Giants took the conservative road and held him out. Manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Posey worked on his running and sliding on Monday. He is scheduled to start running full speed on the bases Tuesday to make sure his surgically-repaired ankle can hold up to making turns on the bases. If everything goes well, Posey could make his spring debut as a DH on Friday against the Reds. Bochy said he could even catch an inning or two.

FREDDY SANCHEZ: The second baseman coming off shoulder surgery may have already been in games as a DH if he did suffer back spasms early last week. That spring debut could come Thursday or Friday for Sanchez. Bochy said he’s not ready to get Sanchez in the game as a second baseman, but he’s more willing to get his bat into game situations.

BRIAN WILSON: The Beard pronounced himself ready to go after throwing batting practice on Sunday. Bochy said Wilson will make his spring debut on Sunday, after throwing another BP session on Wednesday. Wilson is recovering from elbow inflammation that cost him most of the final two months of 2011.

DAN RUNZLER: Runzler was sent to see Dr. James Andrews for a consultation on his strained shoulder on Sunday. We haven’t heard anything since. And in this case, no news is bad news. A lat strain could sideline Runzler six weeks. He needed a strong spring to make the roster. That won’t happen now.

Morning report 3/1: Freddy is getting ready

There was more good news to report on the injury rehab front Wednesday as Freddy Sanchez returned to the field after a back flareup Monday caused to curtail his work.

The Giants second baseman even made throws to first base, the first time he’s thrown to a base since his shoulder surgery last August.

Manager Bruce Bochy said it’s time to “pick up the pace” on Sanchez’s return from his shoulder injury to get him ready for the season opener. The plan right now is to get Sanchez into games by the second full week in March, either at second base or as a designated hitter.

While both Bochy and Sanchez said there’s plenty of time for the second baseman to get ready, Sanchez admitted to being antsy about returning to the field after his minor setback on Monday.

For more on Sanchez’s day, check out CSNBayArea.com.

THIS AND THAT

  • BUSTER POSEY: Bochy said that Buster Posey won’t start Saturday’s spring training opener against Arizona, adding that he would not catch. But then he backpedaled, saying that he might get an inning behind the plate. Posey could also DH, often employed during spring training even by NL clubs.
  • CLAY HENSLEY: CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly had a nice piece on pitcher Clay Hensley and his perspective on the play that ended Buster Posey’s season last May. Hensley was a member of the Florida Marlins. To see the report click here.

Buster Posey and his future as a Giants catcher

So, Buster Posey is done for the year. Only the most optimistic of Giants fan was expecting something different in the wake of the catcher’s traumatic injuries suffered last week.

The official word came on Sunday after Posey underwent surgery on his broken ankle and torn ankle ligaments. Posey had some screws placed into his lower leg to stabilize the ankle, and Giants trainer Dave Groeschner said the Posey will have another procedure in 8 to 10 weeks to remove some of that hardware.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey leaves Health Diagnostics in San Francisco on Thursday, May 26, 2011, the day after fracturing a bone in his lower left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle during a baseball game against the Florida Marlins. The Giants put Posey on the disabled list; he could be out for the season. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Lea Suzki)

Rehab would begin after the second procedure, effectively ending his 2011 season.

So now we must consider what’s next in Posey’s playing future. Groeschner said he expects Posey to make a full recovery by next spring training, but really won’t know for certain until he sees how the healing process goes by late summer or early fall.

There has been a good amount of chatter surrounding Posey and whether or not he should continue to play catcher. Even former teammate Bengie Molina said the Giants should seriously consider moving Posey to another position where Posey would less in harm’s way.

Posey, on the other hand, says he remains “100 percent committed” to returning to catching for the 2012 season.

The decision to move Posey to another position may be one the Giants will eventually make. But the likelihood of that happening in 2012 is not good.

Here’s why.

This is the projected 2012 lineup, based on players who are under the Giants’ control in 2012.

1B — Aubrey Huff
2B — Freddy Sanchez
SS — Brandon Crawford
3B — Pablo Sandoval
C — Posey
LF — Brandon Belt
CF — Andres Torres
RF — Aaron Rowand/Nate Schierholtz
BENCH — Eli Whiteside, Mike Fontenot, Emmanuel Burriss, Darren Ford

OK, so if you move Posey out of the catcher position, where do you move him?

Third base? That’s where Sandoval plays. If Posey is at third base, where does The Panda play?

First base? That would force Huff (who will be paid $11 million in 2012) back to the outfield. We’ve seen that before, and it wasn’t pretty. Under this alignment, we would expect Huff to play left and Belt in right.  That’s a little be easier to stomach than Huff in right, where he was a disaster back in April, but it’s certainly not a Gold Glove outfield. We’ve seen with the offensive struggles that Giants have endured this season how important a solid defense is.

Left field? Is this any better than moving Huff to outfield? Do the Giants want to open 2012 with a converted catcher in left and a converted first baseman (Belt) in right?

The bigger issue is that moving Posey out of the catcher position effectively closes the door on the Giants being players in two of the biggest potential free agents of next offseason — Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

But even if Giants don’t succeed in landing one of those big bats, there are still better options on the free agent market among outfielders than you would find among free-agent catchers.

Playing Posey anywhere other than catcher really only leaves one position where the Giants can look to improve their offense — shortstop. But would the Giants really make a move to sign someone like Jimmy Rollins or Jose Reyes if they feel that Brandon Crawford is their shortstop of the future?

So, even if they really wanted to move Posey to another spot on the diamond, the Giants likely wouldn’t do it in 2012.

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