SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy has taken greatcare to pace Buster Posey through this season. But now the homestretch isnearing, and its time to flash the spurs.
Not only is Posey starting behind the plate for Wednesdaysmatinee following a Tuesday night game, but hes catching Tim Lincecum abruising assignment that Bochy has tried to inflict more often on HectorSanchez in recent weeks.
The Giants have a day off Thursday, so thats part of theconsideration. Another: Brandon Belt is on an absolute tear, so putting Poseyat first base isnt such an easy call.
My guess is he wont be there as much, Bochy said of Poseythe first baseman.
Speaking generally, Bochy said Posey would be receivingfewer days off behind the plate the rest of the way
Hell be out there as much as possible without wearing himdown here these next two or three weeks, Bochy said. We have to be smartabout this. We want him out there as much as we can. When you get down to thispoint in the schedule, hopefully youve taken care of your players, especiallyyour starting catcher. But you have to watch them, too. If they need a break,youve got to give them a break.
A break in the schedule is finally arriving. The Giants onWednesday are playing their 20th game in 20 days; they havent had aday off since July 26.
Thursday marks the first of five days off on the schedulethe rest of the way. Thatll help Bochy keep Posey reasonably fresh despiteincreased playing time.
It also helps that the Giants are done with hot-weathercities. They only cross the Mississippi one more time, when they play atWrigley Field over Labor Day weekend and its been cool of late in Chicago.Theyll have the benefit of air conditioning in places like Houston andArizona. And its always cool at Petco Park and at night in Chavez Ravine, thetwo venues where the Giants travel next.
In other pregame news, Bochy said Santiago Casillas blisterissue appears to have subsided and the club is hoping its behind thehard-throwing right hander. Asked pointedly whether Casilla could regain thecloser role, Bochy didnt rule it out. But he said the plan was to stay with acommittee of Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez to get the final sixouts, all subject to late-inning matchups.
Theres a framed picture on the wall in Bochys officeshowing Guillermo Mota dumping a bucket of ice on the skippers head. Bochysaid he looks forward to seeing Mota again soon.
The recent draftees and teenagers in the Arizona RookieLeague were glad to have Mota around when he threw 1 13 innings in a rehabassignment Tuesday.
He bought them all steak dinners, Bochy said.
Mota, who is serving a 100-gam suspension for testingpositive for a banned substance, is eligible to return Aug. 28.
A couple weeks ago, I heard (off the record) that the Giantswould visit new Yankee Stadium for the first time as part of the 2013 schedule.In fact, the tentative schedule calls for them to spend an entire week in NewYork in September playing the Yankees and Mets back-to-back.
Now the word is out, and the Red Soxare on the schedule to visit AT&T Park, too.
The schedule is subject to change and hasnt been approvedyet. Usually teams release it in mid-September or so. Its never too early tolook for Manhattan hotel deals (or lack thereof).