PHOENIX Buster Posey made a critical error. He groundedout with the tying run in scoring position to end the game. You could say hisfirst major league contest in more than 10 months couldve gone better.
But those almost seemed like nits to pick. The way theGiants see it, Posey was on the field for the entirety of a game that mattered.And all of it mattered, all right.
I felt normal, said Posey, uttering three words that willgive hope to any Giants fan.
Posey walked in his first plate appearance Friday and linedtwo singles. He just missed a cutter from Arizona closer J.J. Putz a goodpitch to hit just got on top of it but earlier in the game he managed toextend his hitting streak to 14 games.
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Yes, thats right. Posey had a 13-game streak going on May25, the night he ripped three ankle ligaments and broke his leg in a home-platecollision.
According to STATS Inc., Posey owns the longest current streakin the majors. (Although Magglio Ordonez is semi-retired, officially, with an18-game streak. And the Dodgers Matt Kemp entered his game Friday night with a13-gamer in tow.)
No.3 hitter Pablo Sandovals eyes grew wide when asked whathe thought about seeing Posey behind him in the on-deck circle.
Oh, its exciting, Sandoval said. He played very well forthe first game after the injury. Hes a great player. Were going to do a lotof things with him.
Posey's error came in the sixth inning, before Ryan Roberts' tiebreaking, bases-loaded double. Posey tried to pounce on Jason Kubel's nubber in front of the plate before it spun foul. But he bobbled it and Kubel beat the throw in a close play.
"If I could go back, I might trap it with my glove," said Posey, who tried to grab the spinning ball out of the air.
Tim Lincecum only worked with Posey once this spring, andalthough the first inning was a rocky one, he said they found a rapport.
Its just going back to that old regular comfort that wehave as pitchers out there, Lincecum said. When we have Buster out there, weknow were in a good spot. Having him back wasnt in my mind at all. It wasjust a regular game and were trying to win.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Posey would play Saturdayafternoon, and if he looks fine, hell play the next day.
Hes not showing any effects so thats behind us, Bochysaid. Hes catching great.
It might be a little optimistic to say the injury is behindPosey. Hes been warned by the training staff to expect bouts of soreness allyear long. There will be times when he will need a break; its likely he willstart at first base on Monday in Colorado, for instance.
But for now, Posey is thrilled with where hes at.
Its been continuing to improve, he said. The more Imout there, the less I think about it. I tried my best in the spring to simulatewhat the intensity level would feel like. Im really happy with where I am.
So are his teammates including shortstop Brandon Crawford,who hadnt played on the same field with Posey in a game that counted since2009 at Single-A San Jose.
In spring training, I was able to get used to that alittle, Crawford said. But hes a great player. Having him on the field isalways good.