Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 3:57 pm
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The San Francisco Giants' 2012 season inched forward 90 feet at a time Tuesday. On a back field away from the crowds, Buster Posey ran the bases.
It was another step in the comeback from his devastating ankle injury suffered last May, and count it in the "two steps forward" department, which beats the heck out of the "one step back" slot.
"That's kind of how my rehab has gone," a pleased Posey said. "When I challenge it to do something new, things seem to go better."
The Giants still do not Posey scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on a particular date (not publicly, at least). But running and sliding are the last things on his rehab list. He's getting closer. Manager Bruce Bochy insinuated the other day that he could make his first game appearance by this weekend, though likely as a DH.
Posey estimated he ran "in the 60- to 70-percent range."
He also said when he is ready to play in a game, he'll be ready. Neither he nor the Giants are interested in slotting him into real competition with restraints, such as ordering him not to do certain things.
"When you're playing in a game, you've got to play the game," Posey said. "I feel like so much of my game is instincts, anyway ... when you're out there, instincts take over."
In a perfect world, Posey said, he would touch each base with his right foot as he circles them at full speed (he tore three ligaments in his left ankle and broke a bone in his lower left leg in the play at the plate against the Marlins last season). But it all depends where his stride is, he said, meaning he could touch a base with his left ankle, and that's where he's got to have both full healing and full confidence in the foot.
"I'm definitely itching to get into a game," he said. "At the same time, we're just four games in. Today's the fifth. I still think there's plenty of time."
Tuesday's running of the bases was the first for Posey in what he estimates is "a week to 10 days" in what has been an encouraging spring of work.
"Since the start of spring, I've been able to do all baseball activities," Posey said. "Catching, blocking, live batting practice, and everything's felt good.
"We knew from the time I was injured that running the bases would be the last thing to come, and [trainer Dave Groeschner] was right.
"I think we've been lucky. Everything has gone well."
Posted on: November 7, 2011 6:56 pm
Late spring, two years ago, manager Bruce Bochy told me that Jonathan Sanchez was going to be one very important key to San Francisco's season. And as the Giants went on to win the 2010 World Series, he was.
But as the Giants regressed in 2011, so did the frustratingly enigmatic Sanchez. Straight to the point where the Giants finally threw up their hands and shipped him to Kansas City on Monday for outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Difference between the Giants 2010 World Series run and failing to make the playoffs in 2011?
Try 127 runs ... or .78 runs per game.
Only Seattle crossed the plate fewer times than the Giants in 2011.
They have to score more and, in dealing Sanchez, what they've decided is that the only way to boost that offense is to deal from their source of strength, pitching.
It is a key decision for this reason: They do not have much money to spend this winter.
Failing some financial miracle, such as trading Barry Zito, sources familiar with the Giants winter plans say that they do not have the resources to chase Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins on the free agent market. They very well may not have enough to re-sign free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.
As such, general manager Brian Sabean worked to strike quickly, adding to his lineup before some of the affordable bats were taken from the market.
In Cabrera, the Giants acquired a center fielder who likes the big stage, played well with the Yankees and hit .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 87 RBI for the Royals last summer. Just 27, Cabrera also scored 102 runs for the Royals.
He is a smart, quick upgrade for the Giants.
Sanchez will turn 29 in two weeks, has a no-hitter on his resume and compiled a disappointing 4.26 ERA while going 4-7 with the Giants last summer. He missed the final month-and-a-half with a left ankle sprain.
Meantime, the Giants wasted Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and even Ryan Vogelsong, pitching that should have been good enough to take aim at a second consecutive World Series berth instead of winter tee times.
What they ultimately decided with Sanchez sidelined was that he was the most expendable -- or undependable, take your pick, they're probably one and the same -- of their starters.
If there is to be no Reyes or Rollins in the near future, acquiring Cabrera looks an awful lot like what Sabean did two years ago in building the '10 World Series winner: Supplement top-shelf pitching with the right mix of position players to squeeze enough runs across the plate to win more often than not.
It worked in 2010 because the Giants found that mix with players like Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, and then they got hot just at the right time.
They never did get hot in 2011. If they are to recapture that formula in 2012, Cabrera, a healthy Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and a bounce-back year from Huff will be among the key pieces.
Barring some found money, they have to be.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 7:37 pm
Only good thing about these collisions between the readers and me is, MY home plate involves pepperoni pizza and Cheetos instead of catcher's gear. ...
FROM: Tom O.
No disagreement with your premise that Cousins wasn't looking for impact. He was. My point is, Posey clearly was moving toward the plate as well. The runner has a right to the plate. And Cousins landed on the plate.
I agree the rule doesn't need to be changed because Posey was not blocking the plate. It was a dirty play no matter how much some of you a-holes try to defend it.
You're wrong. And watch who you're calling an a-hole, or I'll have Scott Cousins come mow YOU over.
Here's a thought. If you think that a collision at home plate could be dangerous and you could get hurt -- STAY IN THE DUGOUT!
FROM: A. C. K.
Sorry Scott, but I don't agree that Buster Posey should be on the disabled list because of your macho attitude! All you have to do is place another plate three feet off to the side with a line drawn perpendicular to the original home plate and add a commitment line 30 feet towards third base. That way, once the runner crosses the commitment line, it becomes a force out at home with no possibility of collision between the runner and the catcher.
A "commitment line"? Come on, you know how guys are with commitments. What are you, somebody's longtime girlfriend waiting for a ring?
FROM: Bill C.
Let me get this straight -- it is illegal for a baserunner to run into a second baseman or shortstop who is trying to make a play on a grounder, but it is perfectly legal for a baserunner to run into the catcher who is trying to catch a throw. Somehow the logic eludes me. It was illegal for A-Rod to swat at Bronson Arroyo's glove running down first base and knocking the ball free in Game 6 in 2004, but it is perfectly legal for the baserunner to bowl over the catcher and knock the ball free? What am I missing?
On the other hand, it IS legal for a runner to slide hard and take out the second baseman on a potential double play.
FROM: Stephen F.
Scott, you are a dumba. This situation would have been an ejection in all levels of baseball through high school, including travel, etc. Our kids watch these players and mimic them. I have seen six get ejected this season alone in higher levels of youth and young adult baseball. It is not a necessary part of the game and safety is first. Follow the high school or travel rules as a model and move on before we watch someone get killed at the plate.
Bad comparison, because it's not the same game. They use aluminum bats in high school, too. Do that in the majors, we'd be watching a pitcher get killed. But I commend you on your use of urban slang.
Move along, move along.
FROM: Steve T.
The article on Albert Pujols' slow start is fair because it is what it is ... a slow start. Any of the [message-board] posters who think he won't still get his big contract are in La La Land!
I can tell you this: Judging from my e-mail in-box, the population of La La Land is rapidly increasing.
FROM: Paul D.
That means interleague play every day of the season. Because if not, with an odd number of teams in each league, somebody has to have a day off every day of the week. So let's pass on your idea.
Throwback uniforms: this to prove you cannot please everyone - I LOVED 'em !!!!!!!!
Oh come on. You must dig leisure suits and mullets, too?
Respectfully, interleague play is just fine and a lot of fun to watch. I think perhaps the Cubs have more problems than a couple of games against the Red Sox -- those uniforms were so bad they were almost good.
FROM: Patrick B.
Help me understand why baseball people complain about interleague schedule unfairness when by and large, the most popular sport, the NFL, is fine with it. The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both finished 10-6, and were competing for Wild Cards in the NFC. They shared four common opponents Atlanta, San Fran, Detroit and Washington. This didn't cause NFL writers/teams/fans to go crazy. Were the Buccaneers disadvantaged? I didn't hear a peep about it. Why is it NFL teams can play almost completely different schedules and it's no cause for a massive restructuring, yet MLB's unbalanced schedule is this awful, awful thing?
For starters, because all NFL teams play under the same rules. When an AL club with a strong DH hosts an NL club with a utility infielder masquerading as a DH, the playing field is woefully tilted. Any other questions?
Got to agree with you about interleague play, but what I'd rather see instead of dropping it completely is seeing each team play every team once a year. For instance, if the Braves are making a West Coast swing, add in the A's or Angels for a three-game series. Of course, I'm still for a balanced schedule in both leagues as well. It does get old at the end of the season when we're seeing the same players opposing for the 16th, 17th, and 18th times.
Put me down for the balanced schedule.
I couldn't agree more. Interleague needs to go, pitchers need to be baseball players in the American league and the unbalanced schedule needs to go away.
Bing, bam, boom. You are one enlightened dude.
FROM: Joe W.
I am 52 years old and a lifelong Giants fan. I hate interleague play. I have hated it from the beginning back in 1997. The winner of the All-Star game determining which league gets the extra home game in the World Series is ridiculous, but that's another subject. ... If I were commissioner I would do away with interleague play, the designated hitter, the winner of the All-Star game determining home field advantage in the World Series, fans voting for the All-Star game players and Velcro batting gloves. By the way, I hate interleague play. I just wanted to vent a little and sound off. Thanks. Out.
I understand, and I feel your anger on almost every point. But ... Velcro batting gloves? Now you're just looking to kick the dog when you get home from work.
Likes: Marlins rookie Logan Morrison on Twitter, @LoMoMarlins. ... The drama of Justin Smoak's three-run homer Tuesday night with the Mariners four outs from losing to Baltimore. Cool things are going on in Seattle right now. ... Derek Jeter's run at 3,000 hits. Amazing that no Yankee has ever done it. ... Cartoon Gold, from Go Go Boots, the latest disc from the Drive-By Truckers. ... Old REO Speedwagon, back in the You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish era.
Dislikes: Sorry, but The Hangover: Part II is absolutely brutal. ... Another report that cell phones might cause brain cancer. Great, one more thing to worry about. ... Chatty people at the gym, particularly on cell phones while "working out."
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Someday I'll be living in a big ol' city
-- Taylor Swift, Mean
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:28 am
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When it was finished and the Giants had won their first World Series title since 1954, you expected 23-year-old catcher Buster Posey to leap up and say something about going to that place where Mickey Mouse lives.
Talk about a storybook season with a fairy-tale ending.
When Posey was behind the plate for rookie Madison Bumgarner's sensational Game 4 start, the duo formed the first all-rookie battery to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra in Game 1 in 1947.
He also became the fifth-youngest catcher in World Series to homer in Game 4 behind, among others, Johnny Bench and Tim McCarver.
He's also the third Giants rookie to homer in the World Series -- the first since Jimmy Ripple in Game 3 of the 1936 Fall Classic -- and only the second rookie in World Series history to bat third in a lineup (Berra in 1947 was the first).
Amid the champagne and jubilation afterward, what was Posey thinking?
Something that would make his parents -- or any parents -- proud.
"It's one of those things where you want to thank your mom and ad for all the work they've put in," Posey said. "Getting me where I needed to be, buying bats and balls."
And to be a World Series champion?
"I can't put it into words," said Posey, who batted .300 with a homer and two RBI in his first World Series. "Unbelievable.
Somehow, you get the feeling that this won't be the last time we see the kid on the big stage.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 7:14 pm
Nothing against the Yankees, understand.
But the Giants still love Bengie Molina.
"We're very, very excited for him," San Francisco starter Matt Cain said before the Giants and Phillies tangled in Game 4 here Wednesday. "We're loving watching him. It couldn't happen to a better person. He was great with us. I'm sure it's the same over there."
Cain and the other Giants hurlers pitched to Molina for nearly 3 1/2 years, from 2007 until Molina had to go when the Giants traded him to Texas on July 1 to make room for rookie Buster Posey.
Nothing personal, just the way baseball works.
Posey helped change the Giants season. And, as things turned out, Molina, 36, was the perfect addition for the Rangers.
Especially in New York Tuesday, when he crashed a three-run homer to help put away Game 4.
"Good for him," Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria said. "He's a good man. He deserves everything good.
"He helped a lot of guys in here."
One of them is Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval. Molina took Sandoval under his wing after Panda broke in with the Giants in 2008.
"He helped me with everything," Sandoval said. "Inside and outside of the field. How to deal with fans. People."
Molina entered Game 5 Wednesday hitting .417 against the Yankees in the ALCS with a .462 on-base percentage.
Likes: The Brewers could do worse than hiring Pat Listach as manager. He interviewed Wednesday. ... The pitching in this Giants-Phillies series has been a treat, just as expected. We've barely gotten over the Game 1 hype and here come Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay to hook back up for a Game 5 duel Thursday. ... Edgar Renteria may be at the end of his career, but he sure is going out strong. The guy is playing in this NLCS despite a completely torn biceps muscle in his left arm. Ouch. ... Credit Giants manager Bruce Bochy with maneuvering his lineup with the skill of an expert watch-man. ... Always a good thing when Clint Eastwood has a new movie out. Looking forward to seeing Hereafter.
Dislikes: First June Cleaver, now Mr. C. Tom Bosley, who will always be Happy Days' Howard Cunningham, passed away on Tuesday. Peace, Mr. C. I'll see ya on reruns. ... Look out, we're about to get Huey Lewis for the Game 5 national anthem here.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
-- Johnny Cash, I Walk the Line
Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:01 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- You've got Tim Lincecum, with his two NL Cy Young Awards, sizzling fastball (even with this year's reduced velocity), killer slider and mind-bending curve ball.
You've got lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who has a sneaky fastball, wicked slider and solid curveball.
And you've got Matt Cain, who spots his fastball that creeps up to 94.
All along, the Giants were the one team in the NL that could hang with the Phillies' killer front-three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels if things broke right. And so far, especially after San Francisco's 3-0 Game 3 win, things are breaking right for them.
So, rookie catcher Buster Posey, which of those three is the easiest to catch?
"I'd have to say probably Cain," Posey says. "Johnny and Timmy's stuff is just so electric. Tim's fastball moves a ton. Jonathan's tremendously deceptive.
"Matt's command, he's pinpoint a lot of the time."
With the Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 -- despite some calls for Roy Halladay on short rest -- their hitters will get a crack at Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner, who went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season.
Bumgarner is riding a pretty good wave of momentum: The Giants' shutout in Game 3 -- Cain, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson combined -- following Tim Lincecum's Game 1 shutout of Atlanta last round gives the Giants two shutouts at home in the same postseason for the first time since they blanked the White Sox in Games 3 and 4 of the 1917 World Series.
The Big Three," Wilson said. "Or you can call them the Fab Four, I don't know. Madison shouldn't be counted out.
"You never know. At 21, he might be our secret weapon."
Likes: Tuesday afternoon by the Bay was so gorgeous it makes you wonder why every October playoff game isn't in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, the television money. My bad. ... San Francisco really has become a great baseball city. Loud, loud crowds. ... Robinson Cano's home run in Yankee Stadium against Texas should have been reviewed via replay, but it was not comparable to the Derek Jeter/Jeffrey Maier disputed homer in 1996. Maier reached over the fence into the field of play. These fans Tuesday night did not. ... Mike Quade as the new Cubs manager. He did a fantastic job after Lou Piniella left. Here's a column I did on him in late September. ... Gorgeous shot of Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay on jumbo board in center field before seventh inning started Tuesday. ... The gnocchi at Umbria Italian Ristorante in San Francisco. Great find, that place. ... Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie singing the national anthem. Great voice.
Dislikes: Obese mice.
"To everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
-- The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn
Posted on: October 3, 2010 10:26 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the end, a $40 million payroll was good for 29th in the majors, 90 victories and one big heartbreak on the final Sunday of the season.
The Padres pushed the Giants to the brink of a one-game playoff back in San Diego on Monday, but couldn't push them over the edge. San Francisco's 3-0 win here Sunday earned the Giants the NL West title, and Atlanta's win over Philadelphia gave the Braves the NL wild-card berth.
The Padres head home for the winter after a summer of vastly exceeding expectations.
Even in losing, this was one special team.
"It shows that if you have a bunch of guys committed to the team concept, you can compete in this league," second baseman David Eckstein said, "We had a good mix of guys. That's the tough thing about it.
"Because no one is going to care because we didn't make it."
Sad truth is, Eckstein probably is right -- but he should be wrong.
What the Padres did should have been headline news. They were the game's best story throughout the season.
They were the perfect team for these roiling economic times. They stretched their budget. They made more with less. They were responsible and paid attention to small details.
"A lot of clubs out there, small-market clubs, I'd love for them to take a page out of what we did," Eckstein said. "It proves anything is possible."
The Padres held first place from June 18 through September 16.
They and the Yankees were the only clubs to not lose more than three consecutive games until the Padres were ambushed by a 10-game losing streak beginning on Aug. 26 that ultimately became a mortal wound.
"It's a team game made up of individual battles," manager Bud Black said. "This truly was a team in the sense that guys cared about each other. The unselfishness. Guys understood what I was doing and what the coaches were doing.
"It was fabulous how strong, as a group, the team concept was. It was awesome."
The whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. And as these Padres quietly prepared for their final charter flight home of 2010, though it was a somber clubhouse, there was pride in what they had accomplished.
"I'm never one to be disappointed at the end of the year," said slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who now, along with closer Heath Bell, probably will re-enter the trade rumors market this winter. "You give it your all. When you play your heart out every day, you have nothing to hang your head about.
"Whether we came up one game short or 10 games short, I gave it all I had.
Likes: The Giants are deserving champions. Totally revamped lineup, and together with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Co. will be tough in the playoffs. ... Every time I come to San Francisco, the beauty of AT & T Park hits me all over again. ... On to the playoffs. ... Michaelangelo's Café in North Beach. ... Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo, my old classmate, for notching his 100th win as Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over Grosse Ile 49-13 on the high school football fields Friday night. Coach Jack has the Falcons rolling again, I love it.
Dislikes: It's always a severe and harsh split when a baseball season ends. People you see practically every day of the summer, suddenly, you're done seeing some of them until next February, March or April. Reaching the end of a season is kind of like reaching the end of the school year. It's been a long grind and you're happy to be done, but you'll miss seeing a lot of friends. Looking forward to seeing some of those friends over these next several weeks in the playoffs.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Educated in a small town
-- John Mellencamp, Small Town