Results tagged ‘ Buster Posey ’

Cousins vs. Posey: Dirty play or not

The preliminary news is in on Buster Posey, and as we thought, it wasn’t good.

Posey has a broken bone in his lower leg. He underwent an MRI this morning to see if there is additional ligament damage. Until then, we won’t have a clear idea of how long Posey will be out. But Giants fans need to prepare themselves for news of a season-ending injury.

And while we await further news on Posey, the focus on Thursday morning focused on two points: Was the hit of the Marlins’ Scott Cousins on Posey a dirty play? Should there be some rule change to prevent future collisions and injuries at home plate.

We’ll tackle the first question first: Was it a dirty play?

The short answer is no. When Cousins decided to go and force a play at the plate, he knew that if Schierholtz’s throw was an accurate that he was going to be out unless he could dislodge the ball from Posey. Once he saw the ball come straight to Posey, Cousins made his line straight at Posey because he felt that was his best chance of scoring.

It’s a baseball play. It’s been an accepted play for a long while. All of the Giants players said as much. If any upset Giants fan thinks differently, just think back to another home plate collision involving the Marlins and Giants — the final play of the 2003 NL Divisional Series. Was J.T. Snow a dirty player when he crashed into Ivan Rodriguez? No, even though Snow was clearly going to be out, and his only hope was to plow Pudge.

The Giants' JT Snow collides with Marlins catcher Ivan Rodriguez on the final play of the 2003 NL Division Series.

That’s what Cousins was thinking, too. And here’s something interesting. When I was researching for this post, I found two photos of Scott Cousins sliding into home with the catcher in possession of the ball. He was out on both plays.

Cousins is hitting .158 this season for the Marlins, and he’s fighting to stay on the big league roster. In the situation, Cousins has to score, by any means available to him. So there’s no way he’s sliding home and getting tagged out.

Here’s what he had to say about the play:

The Marlins' Scott Cousins is tagged out at the plate by Braves catcher David Ross

“It’s a baseball play. It’s part of the risk of being a catcher. We’re trying to win the game also. I’m not going to concede the out by any means. I’m on this team to do the little things to help this team win and if that means going hard and forcing the issue because I have speed, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to concede an out.”

Cousins, who played college baseball at the University of San Francisco, said he left badly for Posey and left two messages for the Giants catcher. He also added that he didn’t sleep last night. Well, join the club.

We don’t fault Cousins for the play. We don’t think he’s a dirty player. He wasn’t trying to hurt Posey. He was trying to score.

Cousins is tagged out at home by the Rockies' Chris Iannetta

So that leads us to the second question: Should there be a rule change on plays at the plate?

I spent the morning looking over baseball rules. There’s a rule that states a catcher cannot block the plate if he is not in possesion of the ball. And there’s another rule that says a runner cannot intentionally come in contact with a thrown ball or cannot prevent a fielder from catching a thrown ball.

But apart from that, this play at the plate is sort of in a gray area.

As Mike Krukow said on Thursday’s pre-game show: “It’s anything goes (on a play at the plate) … and the catcher is at the mercy of the baseball gods.”

Peter Gammons tweeted Thursday about how Carlton Fisk changed his approach at plays at the plate after a collision in 1974, employing a sweep tag for the rest of his career.

The implication there is that Posey should not have been blocking the plate.

But he wasn’t.

Posey was out in front of the plate, but was caught by a short hop on Schierholtz’s throw, which caused him to back into the plate slightly. Still, there was a clear path between Cousins and the plate, and the collision occurred in front of the plate between the plate and the mound — not between the plate and third base.

That was the concern of manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher. Should a runner be allowed to blow up a catcher who is not blocking the plate?

It’s a valid question, and it’s something Major League Baseball needs to look at.

It’s not about changing Major League Baseball into Little League Baseball. It’s about keeping baseball players on the field, and not on the trainer’s table.

Busted Buster: Giants catcher Posey is hurt and it’s ‘not good’

Now every San Francisco Giants fan is wishing that Aubrey Huff had struck out in the ninth.

An improbable ninth-inning comeback, capped by Huff’s two-out, two-run single, led to the most disturbing play Giants have have seen in a long while.

Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Catcher Buster Posey suffered an ankle injury when his left ankle was bent back during a collision at home plate with the Marlins’ Scott Cousins as Cousins scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 12th in the Marlins’ 7-6 win over the Giants on Wednesday.

The loss was the first one-run loss for the Giants at home this season — like anyone cares about that.

What’s on everyone’s mind is the sight of Posey writhing in pain at home plate, then being aided off the field by two trainers while putting no weight on his left ankle.

Posey had X-rays on the ankle at the stadium Wednesday night. The Giants gave no results of those X-rays, only adding that he’ll undergo an MRI on Thursday.

But this quote from the blog of the San Jose Mercury News’ Andrew Baggarly is very distrubing.

Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Giants official: “Not good.”

Baggarly: “Broken?”

Giants official: “Not good.”

Not good is right.

So while we wait for further news on Posey, it’s time to consider all options for the Giants. But before we do, let’s set one thing straight.

Cousins’ hit on Posey was completely clean. The Giants said so. The Marlins said so. Anyone who knows anything about baseball, whose vision is not obscured by a little (or a lot) black-and-orange passion, will say so.

With one out in the 12th, Cousins was on third when Emilio Bonafacio hit a fly ball to shallow right center. Nate Schierholtz caught the ball, and Cousins decided to force the Giants to make a play.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) is carried off the field after a collision with Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins scored the go-ahead run on the play as Florida won 7-6. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Schierholtz’s throw was on target and clearly beat Cousins to the plate, and Cousins knew it. His only option, as he saw it, was to hit Posey, who was blocking the plate, and hope to dislodge the ball. However, Posey didn’t not field the throw cleanly and had no time to recover the deflected ball when the collision occurred.

As Cousins hit Posey — Cousins’ shoulder into Posey’s chest — Posey fell backward, twisting his left ankle underneath him.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez had it right when he said: “It was a tough play at home. Posey was doing his job blocking the plate and the runner was doing his job. He was trying to get to home plate.”

So then as we wait for the biggest question to be answered (how badly is Posey hurt), we are left to consider the next question: What do the Giants do next?

While we try to keep positive thoughts in our heads and hearts, it’s really hard seeing any scenario in which Posey doesn’t make a trip to the disabled list. So, it’s time to consider all options.

Start Eli Whiteside and call up a catcher from the minors to serve as his backup or in a platoon. It’s not a particularly comforting option, considering that Whiteside is hitting .200 this season with nine strikeouts in 25 at-bats. The Giants are 4-3 in games started by Whiteside this season. In two of those games (both wins), Posey started at 1B. Last season, the Giants were  18-14 in games started by Whiteside. Also, the catchers down in Fresno have not been very impressive. Chris Stewart is hitting .221 with 0 HRs and 10 RBI in 33 games for the Grizzlies. Jackson Williams is hitting .220 with 0 HR and 7 RBI in 22 games for Fresno. It’s doubtful the Giants would reach to Double-A to find a catcher, but Johnny Monell is hitting .221 with 6 HRs and 20 RBI in 40 games for the Richmond Squirrels.

Sign a free agent to backup or platoon with Whiteside. Bengie Molina’s name has been thrown about a possibility. But the last we heard from Molina was back in spring training when the catcher admitted he was focused on spending time with his family and not a return to baseball. In March, Molina told Newsday: “I wish I could be playing right now, but I’ve got other priorities right now. It could be how Pedro (Martinez) did it halfway through (2009), something like that. It’s not like I’m planning on doing that. If it comes up, and I’m ready to go, I’ll do it.” So even if Molina considered a comeback, this would hardly be an immediate fix. He hasn’t even been thinking about baseball. He’d have to get back into playing shape. Even if he started now, the Giants would be lucky to see him in uniform by the All-Star Break.

A trade. There are catchers out there who could be acquired. If the Nationals decide they want to commit to young catchers like Wilson Ramos or Jesus Flores, they might be willing to trade Ivan Rodriguez. Rodriguez is chasing 3,000 career hits and recently said he’s like to play three more seasons. Wishful thinking, maybe. But he’s in the second year of a two-year $6 million contract. Maybe the Nationals would be willing to part with that contract. They’re in need of a first baseman with Adam LaRoche hurt, and the Giants have Travis Ishikawa and Brett Pill down at Fresno. Perhaps one of them, and a young arm, could entice the Nats. The Mets’ Ronny Paulino ($1.3 million contract) is another option.

The eventual solution may be a combination of any or all of these. But if ends up being a long-term solution, then the bottom line is: Not good.

The good, good and not so good

Buster Posey is raking, Brian Wilson is dealing, and Matt Cain is chilling.

Those were the headlines out of Giants camp on Thursday as the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5.

Posey went 2 for 2 with 2 runs and 2 RBI, including a monster home run of the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa. The blast to center was said to have traveled at least 450 feet.

“That’s the longest home run I’ve ever given up,” De La Rosa said.

Added Rockies manager Jim Tracy: “It’s safe to say Buster Posey is a pretty good player.”

Thanks for the expert analysis, Jim.

Meanwhile, back at Giants camp, Wilson threw batting practice to Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa and Andres Torres, and handled them with ease.

Said Huff: “I’m starting to question whether he was really hurt.”

Wilson has been slowed by a sore back. Pitching coach Dave Righetti said that if Wilson’s body responds well, the Giants closer will make his spring debut on Sunday against the Mariners.

The next time we’ll see Cain on the mound in unclear. Cain skipped his scheduled start Thursday with elbow inflammation, and now his status for his next start Tuesday is in doubt as he hasn’t picked up a ball since Sunday.

“We’ll have to adjust when he throws next,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Cain seemed less concerned about the whole thing.

“It definitely feels better,” Cain said. “It just happens sometimes. You get a little irritation. I don’t think it has anything to do with last year or anything I changed this year.”

Here are some other highlights from Thursday.

DARREN FORD: Ford is an outfielder who the Giants hope can provide them with some needed speed in the future if he can show he can get on base. He went 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the leadoff spot Thursday.

EMMANUEL BURRISS: Starting at 2B, Burriss went 2 for 3 with a triple, run scored and two RBI. He left with a sore foot after fouling a ball of it. Luckily, it wasn’t the same foot he has twice suffered a fracture in.

RYAN VOGELSONG: Starting in place of Cain, Vogelsong threw three hitless innings with two strikeouts. Bochy sees Vogelsong as a candidate to be a long man in the Giants’ pen.

Buster Posey: NL rookie of the year

Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey … and Buster Posey.

Rookies Of The Year_Mart.jpgWhat do those four Giants have in common? They all have statues of them outside of AT&T Park? Not quite. Or at least, not yet.

They were all NL rookies of the year. Oh, and we can throw Gary Matthews and John Montefusco into that group.

Buster Posey became the sixth Giants player to be named NL rookie of the year, beating out Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward for the honor.

Posey is the fifth San Francisco Giant to be so honored and the first since 1975 when Montefusco won, following other wins by Matthews (1973), McCovey (1959), and Cepeda (1958). Mays won the honor in 1951 with the New York Giants.

Posey earned 20 of 32 first-place votes to tally 129 points. Heyward garnered 9 first-place votes and 107 points.

Three delusional voters decided to cast first-place votes for Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Another delusional voter decided to leave Posey completely off his or her ballot. Another still did the same with Heyward. Perhaps MLB can look into revoking some voting privileges.

Trivia time: Since the rookie of the year ballot started including three players in 1980, only one other Giants rookie finished higher than fourth-place in the balloting. Who was that?

Here’s how the voting shook out (on a 5-3-1 scoring system).


Player’s name, NL team

1st

2nd

3rd

Total
Buster Posey, SF 20 9 2 129
Jason Hayward, Atl 9 20 2 107
Jaime Garcia, StL 1 1 16 24
Gaby Sanchez, Fla 2 1 5 18
Neil Walker, Pit 0 1 0 3
Starlin Castro, Chi 0 0 3 3
Ike Davis, NY 0 0 2 2
Jose Tabata, Pit 0 0 1 1
Jonny Venters, Atl 0 0 1 1

Trivia answer: Robby Thompson was second behind Todd Worrell in 1986.

Here’s a list of other Giants rookies who earned rookie-of-the-year votes since the ballot was extended in 1980:

  • P Al Holland, tied for 7th, 1980
  • OF Chili Davis, 4th, 1982
  • OF Dan Gladden, 4th, 1984
  • 3B Chris Brown, 4th, 1985
  • 1B Will Clark, 5th, 1986
  • 2B Robby Thompson, 2nd, 1986
  • P John Burkett, 4th, 1990
  • P William VanLandingham, 7th, 1994
  • P Ryan Jensen, 6th, 2002
  • P Matt Cain, tied-5th, 2006

Odds & ends: Kung Fu Panda delivers knockout blow

During the offseaon, Pablo Sandoval went to see his eye doctor and learned that he’s near-sided.

Since then, the Giants third baseman has debated between wearing prescription googles, contacts or nothing at all.

Perhaps that’s why he hasn’t look right yet this season. Or maybe he’s just been pressing.

Whatever it was, it seems to be a thing of the past after Sandoval hit the ball hard three times Sunday in a 6-3 win over the Braves.

“This was the starting point,” Sandoval told reporters afterwards. “This is the point to turn it around and help the team.”

Even though Sandoval entered Sunday’s game with a .290 average. He only had one RBI, and that came on a groundout. Many of Sandoval’s hits this season came a bloopers, infield hits or soft liners. Not so on Sunday.

First was a two-out triple to right-center in the fourth that led to the Giants’ first run. Then came a sharp single to left that led to the Giants’ second run. And finally came a mammoth homer to right-center that put the Giants up 5-2 in the eighth.

“Even Pablo will get out of sync occasionally,” manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. “But even then, he finds a way to get hits.”

Barry speaks

Members of the 2000 San Francisco Giants team showed up at AT&T Park on Sunday, but didn’t get to take part in the planned pre-game ceremonies because of the rain delay.

But we did learn some things about the members of that team.

A member of that team said Sunday he used steroids. And a member of that team says he’s retiring from baseball.

Of course, neither one of those statements was made by Barry Bonds.

What Barry did say is that he is proud of Mark McGwire for his admission of steroid use. Bonds also says he likes offering batting advice to younger players.

Bonds said the he’s had a good friendship with McGwire over the years, “and I’m proud of what he did, and I’m happy for him.”

Bonds also spent a few days last winter offering hitting advice to the Phillies’ Ryan Howard. He said he enjoys coaching and would like to do more of it in the future. However, it seems that coaching would be on a free-lance basis, so don’t expect Barry to replace Hensley Meulens as the Giants hitting coach.

But maybe the Giants could hire Bonds to teach Giants hitters not to swing at 2-0 pitches out of the strike zone.

That is, if they don’t sign Bonds as a free agent. Officially, he has not retired from baseball, even though he hasn’t played since 2007. His lack of retirement could be linked to a potential grievance of collusion against Major League Baseball for keeping out of the game.

One ex-Giant who did announce his retirement was Rich Aurilia. Aurilia, now a Giants broadcaster, said he contact club president Larry Baer to state his intention to retire.

One ex-Giant who admitted to steroid use was Marvin Benard, who said he used the drug to help him recover from a knee injury

More Posey news

Buster Posey went 2 for 5 with three runs scored and his first home run of the season in the Fresno Grizzlies’ 14-2 win over the Reno Aces on Sunday.

Posey is now 9 for 18 for the season.

Also on Sunday, Fred Lewis went 2 for 3 with two walks for Fresno, and Joe Martinez pitched five scoreless innings for the win.

Pirates come to town on Monday

The Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game series with the Giants on Monday at AT&T Park. Here’s a look at the pitching matchups

  • Ross Ohlendorf (0-0) vs. Barry Zito (1-0), 7:15 p.m. Monday
  • Paul Maholm (0-1) vs. Matt Cain (0-0), 7:15 p.m. Tuesday
  • Charlie Morton (0-1) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (0-0), 12:45 p.m. Wednesday

Giants notes: Velez plays for San Fran…what?

No, that wasn’t a clever marketing ploy by the San Francisco Giants to try to raise awareness about dyslexia in America. It was just a plain old error.

Giants Astros Baseball.jpg
Giants infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez wore a uniform Wednesday in Houston that had the C and S in San Francisco transposed on his chest. Velez’s uniform read “San Francicso.”
Apparently, Velez had no idea about the misspelling and only learned of it when reporters asked him about it after the game.
“Increible!” Velez said.
Wow! Even when Velez speaks, he misspells words! No, wait. That was actually Spanish. Our bad.
Apparently, Majestic, the company that makes the big league uniforms, are really wishing that Giants had gone back to their retro road unis, when all it had on it was a big “SF.”
Lewis begins rehab stint
Outfielder Fred Lewis, placed on the disabled list to the start the season with an abdominal strain, began a rehabilitation stint with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies on Thursday.
Lewis started in left field against the Reno Aces and went 1 for 3.
No word on how long Lewis will be on the rehab stint, as the Giants’ outfield is still very crowded. 
If, and when, the Giants decide to activate Lewis, the leading candidate to be sent down could be Eugenio Velez. Of the current outfielders on the roster, only Velez and John Bowker have minor-league options remaining. And as Bowker is currently starting in right field, Velez seems the likely candidate to be wearing “Frenso” uniform in the near future.
Whoops, we meant “Fresno.”
Posey watch
Also in Reno on Thursday, Buster Posey started at catcher for the Grizzlies and batted third. he went 3 for 5 with two runs scored.
Trivia answer
I did miss the trivia answer from the Giants’ opening day broadcast.
The question was: Who were the five pitchers to start on opening day for the Giants from 2000-2009?
I got four of five right. But I was thinking about the correct fifth pitcher.
They were: Livan Hernandez (2000-02), Kirk Rueter (2003-04), Jason Schmidt (2005-06), Barry Zito (2007-08), Tim Lincecum (2009).
Dang! I guessed Russ Ortiz, but Rueter was lingering in my head.
Braves come to town
After Thursday’s games, the Giants became the last undefeated team in the majors. One of those teams to suffer their first loss on Thursday was the Atlanta Braves, who lost 2-0 to the Chicago Cubs.
The Braves will come to San Francisco for the Giants’ home opener. Game time is set for 1:35 p.m. Friday at AT&T Park. The game will be carried live by the MLB Network.
The Giants may have caught a break by avoiding the Braves’ talented young pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson. Here are the pitching matchups for the weekend series.
Jonathan Sanchez (0-0) vs. Tim Hudson (0-0), 1:35 p.m. Friday (MLB network)

Todd Wellemeyer (0-0) vs. Kenshin Kawakami (0-0), 7:05 p.m. Saturday

Tim Lincecum (1-0) vs. Derek Lowe (1-0), 1:05 p.m. Sunday

Spring notes: Posey Fresno-bound?

The San Francisco Giants reassigned pitcher Santiago Casilla to minor-league camp, cutting the spring roster to 38 players. Manager Bruce Bochy said the remaining 38 players will travel north for the four exhibition games in the Bay Area.

That means catcher Buster Posey will be heading north. But whether he’ll still be with the Giants when they open the season in Houston remains to be seen.

The Giants are considering keeping Posey with the big club and giving him 3 or 4 starts a week at catcher or first base. But with the Giants having the first four Thursdays of the season off, the prevailing thought in the organization is to send Posey to Fresno to catch every day. But Posey could get called on at the first sign of trouble.

Another player not likely to be on the opening day roster is outfielder Fred Lewis. Lewis hasn’t played in about week with a sore left side, which may land Lewis on the disabled list.

“We haven’t determined that yet, but that’s a possibility,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday. “We hope that’s not the case.”

Or maybe they do. Putting Lewis on the DL would at the very least delay a tough decision for the Giants. If they can hide Lewis away on the DL, it would give them time to see how outfielders John Bowker and Eugenio Velez perform during the regular season. If one or both struggle, they could then activated Lewis from the DL and send either one to the minors. Both Bowker and Velez have minor-league options. Outfielders Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres are out of options, as is Lewis.

APRIL 27 DATE FOR VILLALONA: Giants prospect Angel Villalona faces an April 27 preliminary hearing on the murder charges against him in the Dominican Republic.

Villalona, 19, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of a man in a Dominican bar last September.

On April 27, the judge will consider if the evidence against Villalona is strong enough for the case to go to trial. Villalona is currently free on bond.

PREDICTION FOR GIANTS IN 2010: Not yet.

More Splash Hits predicted a 70-92 record in 2008 — the first post-Barry Bonds year when many talking heads were talking about a 100-loss season for the Giants. The Giants finished 72-90.

More Splash Hits predicted a 83-79 mark for 2009, when most thought the Giants’ lack of offensive punch would destine them to another 90-loss season. The Giants finished 88-74.

So what’s the call for 2010? Well, as the Giants are putting more of their roster decision off to the 11th hour, so we will likewise wait before making our prediction.

Stay tuned.

 

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