Posey's durability likely to affect roster decisions

Posey's durability likely to affect roster decisions
March 31, 2012, 10:27 pm
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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.

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