EXTRA BAGGS: Buster Posey, the understated showman


EXTRA BAGGS: Buster Posey, the understated showman

SAN FRANCISCO Great players know when the curtain rises.And although Buster Posey is still a pup when it comes to major league servicetime, there isnt a soul in the city who wouldnt call Posey a great player.

So when he steadied himself and dug into the batters boxFriday afternoon, his skin still prickling after absorbing the warmestwelcome-back ovation of his life, Posey did not surprise anyone with what hedid next.

He made a circle-sized pock mark on the center field wall, 390 feet away.His soaring double scored the Giants first run in a home-opening 5-0 victoryover the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I dont think Buster gets very nervous, said right-handerMatt Cain, who was in lockstep with Posey while throwing a one-hit shutout.Hes very even-keel. Even if he is nervous, he wont let you know it.

But you could definitely see he had some energy with him.

Posey played his first regular-season game at China Basinsince the night of May 25, when he clutched the dirt in agony after rippingthree ankle ligaments and fracturing his leg in a targeted collision at theplate.

The fans stood and applauded him like he was returning fromoverseas. In a sense, he was.

I tried to enjoy it as much as I could, Posey said. Itwas a lot of work to get back here. So I tried to soak it up.

You want Cain facts? You got Cain facts!

--He threw his fifth career shutout. This was the thirdone-hitter.
RELATED: Cain gives fair value on near-perfect afternoon

--Hes the first Giant since Hooks Wiltse in 1908 to beseparated from a perfect game by just one hit to the opposing pitcher. The lastmajor leaguer with such a game was the Padres Jimmy Jones, who gave up just atriple to Houstons Bob Knepper on Sept. 21, 1986. (Courtesy: Trent McCrotter,SABR.)

--Hes the first Giant to go the distance and yield his onlyhit to the opposing pitcher since Hal Schumacher in 1935. (And darn you,Orville Jorgens!)

--He joined Jonathan Sanchez (in his 2009 no-hitter) asthe only Giants in San Francisco history to throw a shutout, allow one hit orless, walk none and strike out at least 10. (Dave Feldman noodled that one.)

--The Giants have two complete-game shutouts in theirfirst seven games (Cain, Barry Zito) for the first time since Jim Barr and JohnMontefusco in 1975. Some guys named Marichal and Perry did it in 71, too.(Another Feldy gem).

--For the second consecutive day, a Giants pitcher lost a no-hitter in the sixth inning to the No.9 hitter. Spooky. A day earlier at Coors Field, Tyler Colvin (who entered on a double switch) tripled off Madison Bumgarner.

Cain said from the first interview of FanFest that he wasenthusiastic about the Giants new-look lineup, even if the outside view wasntso rosy. Cain kept telling anyone who would listen that he didnt expect to bechronically malnourished for run support, as hes been in the past.

Well, its early. But the Giants are now 7-for-7 in scoringat least four runs. Thats something they did in just 39.5 percent of theirgames last season.

Its huge and Ive said this from Day One: These guys weadded at the front of the lineup will be huge for us, Cain said of MelkyCabrera and Angel Pagan. You get Pablo (Sandoval) and Buster behind these twoguys and its going to be fun.

Pagan was 0 for 4 but made two hard outs and contributed afine running catch in center field. Cabreras contributions are lessunderstated. Hes hit safely in all seven games, and has multiple hits in fiveof them.

Cabrera also jammed his hand when he slid headfirst into catcherRod Barajas leg while scoring from first base on Poseys double. Shortly afterthat, he received instructions from the coaching staff.

I wont slide headfirst at home plate any more, saidCabrera through an interpreter. They told me not to.

Cabrera added that he was fine.

Last year, Aubrey Huff didnt hit his first home run atAT&T Park until May 11. This season, he only needed four plate appearancesto deposit one in the arcade.

Bochy is taking a lot of heat for the way hes handlingBrandon Belt, especially after promising to give his opening-day first basemana long leash. But Bochy likes the way Huff is swinging the bat, and he wantshis most confident hitters to stay out there.

Theres a lot of confidence in Huff right now.

Ive played the game long enough to know youll have goodyears and great years, Huff said. Last year was a terrible year.

Last years over.

It was noted that Hector Sanchez, not Posey, warmed up Cainin the bullpen. That might have had something to do with the case of shinglesthat Posey is fighting through. But Bochy also said its a way to speed upSanchezs familiarity with everyone on the staff.

Posey said the Giants had him skip a few pregame bullpenslast year, too.

Its just a matter of trying to save my legs through thecourse of the year, he said.

The Giants staged their second ever home opener on Fridaythe 13th. This one went better than the previous one a loss to thePadres in 1990.

Not surprised to see Mike Fontenot get picked up by thePhillies, even if its just on a minor league contract. Hes still got gameleft, even if he wasnt a fit with the Giants.

They werent World Series champions (by the slimmest ofmargins), but I have to think the 1962 team is the best ever assembled in SanFrancisco. It was quite a gathering on the field during pregame ceremonies.Many folks forget that Don Larsen, who is better known for his perfect game forthe Yankees in the 1956 World Series, was part of that 62 Giants team.

Larsen was on hand. And if Cain had thrown a perfect game,how crazy would that be for coincidences?

The Giants found a fitting person to throw out theceremonial first pitch. It was Bryan Stows son, Tyler. Then the team made surethe moment was done right. All the players came out of the dugout and formed asemi-circle around him.

RELATED: Bryan Stow, son team up for Giants' first pitch
It turned even more emotional when Stow appeared live viasatellite with his mother, and held out a baseball to Tyler. Good luck, son,he said.

Tyler didnt stand in front of the mound. He threw a full 60feet, 6 inches. And it was a strong heave that snapped in the glove. He did hisdad proud, all right.

I dont think there was a guy on our team that wasnttrying to hold back tears, Huff said.

Something I didnt expect to see today: Groundskeeperswatering the infield an hour before the first pitch. What a gloomy forecast.What a glorious day.

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.” 

Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft


Authorities: Two Dodgers security guards arrested, accused of theft

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors say two security guards at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium have been arrested and are accused of stealing equipment, baseballs and jerseys from the major league team to sell online.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Juan DeDios Prada and Fernando Sierra pleaded not guilty to burglary and other charges Thursday.

Prosecutors say the two security guards conspired with a third man, Jesse Luis Dagnesses, to steal baseball uniforms and other team merchandise to sell online.

They say Prada and Sierra stole more than $3,400 from a locked equipment room at the stadium between January 2013 and February 2016.

Authorities say Dagnesses is accused of receiving $950 in stolen baseballs and jerseys.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.