Posey's durability likely to affect roster decisions

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Posey's durability likely to affect roster decisions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey continues to exceedexpectations this spring and it might be impacting how the Giants arrangetheir opening-day roster.

Posey started at first base Saturday afternoon, just a fewhours after a strenuous workload Friday night in Peoria. Against the San DiegoPadres, Posey had pushed himself hard on the basepaths and caught a completegame for the first time this spring. They were long innings, too.

He said he woke up with a normal amount of stiffness inhis surgically reconstructed left ankle.

Even when youre completely healthy, spring training is alot different than the regular season, Posey said. But Im really optimisticbecause Ive made a lot of progress this spring and I think its only gonna getbetter and better.

Most impressively, Posey scored from second base on asingle. He said yes, he thought about his ankle as he made the sharp turnaround third base.

Itll be something Ill think about for awhile, he said. Itssomething Ill get more and more comfortable with. I dont think that thinkingabout it is a bad thing.

Posey said hes pleased with how the spring has gone. Hehasnt had any apparent setbacks.

The training staff has done a great job of managing it,knowing when to push and when to pull back a little bit, Posey said. Imhappy.

Its a test for Posey to play a day game after a night game something the Giants will have in four of their first 10 contests, and 39 inall this season. His strong spring makes it more likely that manager BruceBochy will stick to his early pledge to carry just one additional catcher.

Yes, it could be Hector Sanchez instead of choosing betweenEli Whiteside and Chris Stewart.

Carrying just one catcher would allow the Giants one moreposition player; they face a tough choice between Joaquin Arias middle-infielddefense and Brett Pills right-handed power.

The coaching staff and front office also continues todiscuss Brandon Belt, where he should start the season and what his role shouldbe. Bochy has said he and GM Brian Sabean have taken their discussions lateinto the night in recent days a sign there is some healthy disagreement onthe roster construction.

Also today:

--Clay Hensley had an MRI on his calf that showed only a mildstrain. He expected to get back on a mound within a day or two.

--Ryan Vogelsong threw 55 pitches in three innings of aminor league game. He remained on course to start the season opener forTriple-A Fresno on Thursday. Hell make one more rehab start after that beforethe club activates him when they need a fifth starter April 15.

--Dan Otero is your Harry S. Jordan award winner as the mostimpressive player in his first big league camp. Otero hasnt walked a batterand has a bingo number for an ERA (0.90) in 10 appearances.

I didnt know what to expect, Otero said. The first timehere, it was overwhelming. Then you get acclimated and get a comfort level.Being here with the guys, you take it as any other day. Its baseball.

Otero, Steve Edlefsen and non-roster pitcher Jean Machi arecompeting for the final bullpen spot a temporary one, since the winner isexpected to go down when Vogelsong is ready.

Machi has a nasty splitter that has gotten the attention ofthe coaching staff, but Otero is a strike thrower.

Ive always tried not to walk guys because I know Ill giveup hits, Otero said. The fewer baserunners, the better.

Otero won a five-pack of 5 Starbucks cards. He doesn't drink coffee.

--Arias was in the early lineup but Bochy changed it and putRyan Theriot at second base, instead. Emmanuel Burriss got a rare start atshortstop, too. Although theres an excellent chance Arias will be on the teamas a backup middle infielder, if the Giants opted not to carry him, they likelywould go with todays alignment Theriot at second, Burriss at short againstsome left-handed pitchers. Theyre getting Reds lefty Jeff Francis today.

Also, it appears that Bochy is more or less set onflip-flopping Posey and Pablo Sandoval in the Nos. 3-4 spots againstleft-handers this season.

The lineup:

CF Pagan
LF Cabrera
1B Posey
3B Sandoval
2B Theriot
RF Schierholtz
SS Burriss
C Stewart
P Mota

Its a Johnny Wholestaff game today, and Mota didntexactly change his routine because he was starting. Players were dressed atnoon. Mota, as per his custom, strolled in at 11:44.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.