SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey faced live pitching for thefirst time since mid-May, but that joyous event was interrupted by two veryscary moments Sunday.
Matt Cain was struck in the leg and toppled to the groundafter Hector Sanchez sent a line drive screaming up the middle. Cain shook itoff and continued his session, then a trainer accompanied him to the clubhouse.A few minutes later, Jeremy Affeldt lost the handle on apitch and struck Pablo Sandoval in the ribs, knocking the Kung Fu Panda to the dirt.He stayed down for a moment but dusted himself off and continued his round.
See? I dont throw hard, Affeldt said, after checking tomake sure Sandoval was OK.Sandoval smiled as he dug back into the box. Affeldt onlyhad to throw two practice pitchouts to end his session.Now, dont be swinging, Affeldt said.Affeldt pitched with an L screen to protect him fromcomebackers. Cain didnt employ the screen as he faced Sandoval, Melky Cabrera,Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff. Sanchez, who nearly won a batting title inthe Venezuelan League, hit the only ball hard off Cain.Cain didnt appear injured as he finished his session withpractice pitchouts. He also saw fit to give Sandoval some ribbing over hishyper-aggressive tendencies.You want to hit that one, dont you? said Cain, afterthrowing one well outside.Yeah, Ill hit that, Sandoval said.That sort of banter is typical of the first day of live BP,when teammates get the rare chance to face each other. Its a day that Poseyhad circled for months while rehabbing from three torn ankle ligaments and abroken left leg. He hadnt seen live pitching since May 25, when he was injuredin a home-plate collision.Posey caught Cain and then replaced Sanchez in the group tohit against Affeldt. He saw a total of 15 pitches from Affeldt and Sergio Romo,swung eight times and didnt miss once. Although he managed just foul balls anda couple of soft grounders in his early cuts, Posey ended the session againstRomo with an apparent ground-rule double to right-center, then a crisp linedrive to left field.Live BP is continuing with other pitchers. Barry Zito andGuillermo Mota were in the first group on the back field, where they are facingmostly minor leaguers. Tim Lincecum is not facing hitters because he threw aside session on Saturday. Pitching coach Dave Righetti said it went well andLincecum should be back on schedule soon; he had been set back because hemissed a bullpen session last week because of some minor back stiffness.One other morning note: Pat Burrell arrived in camp, thoughnot in an official coaching capacity. He said hes done playing, but hasntfiled the official retirement paperwork. Truth be told, he said he didntrealize he needed to file anything. But rest assured, the Bats baseballplaying days are over.