Giants' Posey progressing with rehab process


Giants' Posey progressing with rehab process

Sep. 2, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Buster Posey points to a pair of regular sneakers at the foot of his locker. Those shoes signify serious progress for San Francisco's injured star.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year catcher no longer needs a scooter, crutch or walking boot to make his way around AT&T Park. He considers himself on target to return from a devastating leg injury by the start of spring training next year.

"I'm walking around in a tennis shoe, feeling good. I think we're right on track," Posey said Friday. "Keep going. Be ready to go hopefully next spring."

Posey is gaining strength in his leg every day and is set to begin catching bullpens and hitting next month at instructional league in Arizona.

He said he will return to Arizona in a couple of weeks to continue his extensive rehab.

"It's increasing every workout, so it's just the progression of it. More and more all the time," Posey said of the intensity of working out his legs. "It's nice to have some sore muscles in my legs again."

The new father of nearly 3-week-old twins went down for the season after tearing three ligaments in his left ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg in a frightening home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25.

"Buster's in a good frame of mind," manager Bruce Bochy said before the opener of a key weekend series with the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. "He's enjoying walking around with no crutch and being able to do some rehab stuff. Hopefully in a month he will catch some bullpens in instructional ball."

For now, Posey is plenty busy with baby duty while he works to get himself back in baseball form.

He and his wife, Kristen, welcomed daughter Addison and son Lee on Aug. 14. Being a sleep-deprived, first-time dad with constant responsibilities at home has helped him cope with not being on the field for the struggling Giants.

Posey is arguably this team's best player - and he had so looked forward to his first full season in the big leagues batting cleanup for the reigning World Series champions.

Losing him was a huge blow for San Francisco's psyche - and Posey's.

"I don't think there's any question about it. Looking forward to the birth of my children and then them being here has definitely helped with the process of not being able to play," Posey said. "Of course it puts everything in perspective, too. Just trying to catch up on sleep now. We had a long night last night."

The Giants miss Posey's presence behind the plate and in the middle of the batting order.

He wasn't even called up from Triple-A Fresno until late May last year, then batted .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 108 games while playing catcher and some first base.

Posey hit eight of his homers after Sept. 1 and helped the Giants capture their first NL West crown since 2003.

This is the player San Francisco gave 6.2 million when he signed in August 2008, the richest deal ever for a Giants amateur.

Posey was the fifth overall draft pick that year out of Florida State and San Francisco's highest selection since Jason Grilli went fourth in 1997. The last time the Giants drafted a position player who became an All-Star for them was in 1986, when they picked Matt Williams third overall.

The Giants realized all along Posey had star potential - All-Star, they hope - after the '08 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year led the NCAA in batting average (.472), on-base percentage (.572) and slugging percentage (.908) in his final college season. He also led Florida State with six saves and did not give up an earned run in eight appearances.

Posey even played all nine defensive positions in one game and hit a grand slam.

Now, everybody will be curious to see if he can return to the dominant player he was before that terrible day in May. For now, the Giants are encouraged - though rehabs often have their setbacks.

"Nobody's trying to get too far ahead," said Bobby Evans, Giants vice president of baseball operations. "It's a significant injury and only time will tell how it will feel in the heat of battle."

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

The Warriors are NBA Finals bound for the third straight year.

Following their Game 4 victory over the Spurs on Monday night, Pau Gasol opened up about the Western Conference champions.

“They’re in a groove,” Gasol told Courtney Cronin of the Bay Area News Group. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

Gasol entered the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

He won championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to enter the Finals with a record of 12-0.

Their average margin of victory in the playoffs is 16.3 points.

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.