Lincecum, Giants thrilled with Posey's progress

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Lincecum, Giants thrilled with Posey's progress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey caught Tim Lincecum on Tuesday. Heranged to pluck a foul pop out of the air. He threw out two of four attemptedbase stealers. He drew a walk in three plate appearances. He slid into second,too.

All in all, it was a good way to spend his 25thbirthday.

Heres the icing on that birthday cake: For the first timethis spring, he was catching on back-to-back days.

It was one thing to see Buster back (in the clubhouse),Tim Lincecum said. Its another thing to see him doing all the things he didbefore he got injured.

Lincecum and Posey, the Giants opening-day battery, workedtogether for the first time this spring in Tuesdays 5-3 loss to the LosAngeles Angels at Scottsdale Stadium. The last time they teamed up, it was May21 and Lincecum threw a three-hit shutout against the As. It was so long ago,Andres Torres was in the lineup that day. Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Miguel Tejada, too.

Four days after that, Poseys ankle got ripped apart in ahome-plate collision. Hell deal with aches and pains and breaking scar tissue throughout this season. But for now, hes handling the pounding without any apparentlimitation.

And the Giants are thrilled about that.

Its all going well and were excited, said Giants managerBruce Bochy, who might have Posey play first base or DH on Wednesday. My senseis hell feel fine tomorrow.

Posey caught seven innings for the second consecutive daybut said he easily couldve worked all nine. Thats the last box to check.

Im excited to see how it feels tomorrow but by all signsit should feel good, Posey said. I felt the same Ive felt all spring. Imjust excited to get going. Everything is go.

Lincecum had to smile when Posey threw out Albert Pujols atsecond base. He wondered how much the ankle would limit Posey, so that was anencouraging sight.

You see him throwing out runners and you put it in your headwhat hes capable of doing when hes out there, Lincecum said. He seems likethe same confident Posey that he is. Hes not talking about his ankle, not usingit as an excuse. Its, Im Posey. Im here to do my job.

Its like hes been on hiatus for a year and now hesback.

Lincecum even took time to wish Posey a happy birthday although he didnt realize it until he heard screams from well-wishers in thestands.

Posey said he was looking forward to an evening justhanging with the family."

"You know me," he said. "Pretty boring."

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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.”