SAN FRANCISCO Its so easy to forget that this is BusterPoseys first start-to-finish, full season in the major leagues.
Like all catchers, he has taken his share of shots and hits right through the celebratory scrum after the Giants clinched the NL Westtitle Saturday night.
Who was Posey punching in the pile?
Affeldt, Posey said, grinning. He was jabbing me in theribs so I had to get him back.
Posey is out of the lineup Sunday, along with nearly all theregulars. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he couldnt pass up the chance togive his everyday players a 48-hour break to recharge, but he plans to havemost of his regulars back in Tuesdays lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
That includes Posey, who estimated he likely would start eight of thefinal nine games of the season.
Ive never been in that position, Posey said. You want tostay sharp and at the same time, you have an opportunity to get some rest. Idthink you want to take advantage of it.
Posey usually deflects personal goals, but he offered aquick absolutely when asked if hed be motivated to get the three RBIs heneeds for 100. Hed be the first Giant to drive in 100 runs since Barry Bondsin 2004.
In fact, chasing a few carrots here and there might help theteam keep its edge.
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Itd be nice, Posey said. We accomplished our main goal,which was to get in the playoffs. I think personally, its important to keepthat same feel youve had all year.
It isnt just Poseys reconstructed left ankle that hasposed a challenge this season. He has caught 941 innings this season; hisprevious high was 662 innings in 2010, although he also started 32 games atTriple-A Fresno that season.
Two or three times my body has not felt good at all,whether its the travel or some other reason said Posey, who had a bout ofshingles in the first half in addition to the usual aches and pains associatedwith catching. Whether its four or five days or a week, you kind of come outof it. Ive learned how to keep grinding, make sure you get your rest and eatwell.
Bochy has been in this position before. His 1998 Padresclinched in the 149th game three games earlier than these Giants.Although San Diego went 4-9 down the stretch that season, they got past theHouston Astros and Atlanta Braves to advance to the World Series.
So Bochy has a good idea how it needs to work over theselast nine games.
Im aware of that and I think this team is aware of that,he said. Thats why these guys are going to play and theyre going to pitch.Past today, were not going to shut it down.
Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro were in most need of a rest,Bochy said. But shortstop Brandon Crawford has been playing with a tenderhamstring, too. So he also welcomed a chance to take a break.
Lost in the hubbub of Saturdays clincher was Brandon Beltsfirst opposite-field home run at AT&T Park.
Oh, I enjoyed that, he said.
What did Bochy think of Pablo Sandovals diving catch intothe stands Saturday?
Its good to have a little extra cushion, the managersaid.
In the standings, too.