Posey gives repaired ankle its most rigorous test yet


Posey gives repaired ankle its most rigorous test yet

PEORIA, Ariz. Barry Zito's incredibly shrinking stuff is cause for alarm, but at leastthe other end of the Giantsbattery appeared fully charged Friday night.

Not only did Buster Posey play nine innings for the firsttime all spring, but no part of it was a country club. He had to squat forthree interminable innings with Zito on the mound. He had to warm up JavierLopez after Clay Hensley left with an injury.

Most impressively, he had to push it harder on the basepathsthan at any point this spring. And then he had to push again.

Posey ran aggressively down the line while beating out aninfield chopper in the fifth inning. He took second base on a wild pitch. Thenhe scored from second on Brandon Belts single to right field. Posey slid intothe plate before the ball arrived, never showing a bit of hesitation.

He was 2 for 5 and has a .324 average this spring.

This was a long game. That was a good test, said Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy, adding that Posey would play first base on Saturday. Hesbeen coming through all the tests.

Its interesting that Posey will play first base a day afterhis most taxing night on the field. Thats probably what the Giants will askhim to do often this season. The club plays 39 day games after night games.Theyll play four such quick turn games out of the first 10 this season.

Bochy said Poseys health, ability and steady progress haveexceeded expectations.

We were optimistic hed be fine, but we havent had anyhiccups, Bochy said. (Trainer) Dave Groeschner has done a terrific job withthe rehab plan and Buster has come through all the stuff we put him through.

Hes really back to where he was.

Bochy added that Posey would do the lions share of thecatching, but he still couldnt put a number on the total starts he expects.Bochy might not have a true read on that until the end of April or the beginningof May.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."