Bochy commends Melky Cabrera, Posey skirts question

892885.jpg

Bochy commends Melky Cabrera, Posey skirts question

SAN FRANCISCO Melky Cabreras ineligibility to win the NLbatting title turned the crown into a sudden, two-player race betweenPittsburghs Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey, Cabreras former teammate.

EXCLUSIVE: Melky Cabrera ruled ineligible to win batting crown

So what did Posey think about the deal that Cabrera struckwith Major League Baseball on Friday to disqualify him?

You know what, Im just focusing on these last 12 games,said Posey, skirting the issue. Weve got a chance to do some good things.Personal achievements are always nice, but being fortunate enough to win theWorld Series in 2010, I know how much fun that was to share it with the wholecity. I know thats why I play the game. Thats how I get satisfaction.

Posey leads in many ways, including the way he carefullyconsiders his words. It was no surprise when he was named the Willie Mac Awardwinner, recognizing him as the most inspirational Giant as selected by playersand coaches. He entered the day hitting .335, just behind McCutchen at .338.

McCutchen told Pirates reporters that he appreciated Cabreramanning up and saying he was wrong. I guess he thought that was the rightthing to do and I commend him for doing that."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy also commended Cabrera.

Good for Melky, Bochy said. Its a good thing. He didntwant something hed probably feel is tarnished, so I think that shows somethingabout his character.

Posey did not offer an opinion one way or the other; thecatcher might have offered the only comment necessary on Aug. 15, the day MajorLeague Baseball announced Cabreras 50-game ban for testing positive fortestosterone.

"Ultimately, it was just a baddecision, Posey said at the time.

RATTO: Decision on Melky is dishonest

Posey could become the first NL catcher to win the awardsince 1942, when Oakland native Ernie Lombardi hit .330 for the Boston Braves.

Its really, really difficult (for a catcher to win abatting title, Bochy said. You get beat up and your hands take a beating. Ittakes a lot of focus catching the game. You cant drift mentally. So itsimpressive where he is.

Its even more impressive because Posey couldnt walk fornearly four months last season after he tore three ankle ligaments andfractured a bone in his leg in a May 25 collision at home plate with FloridaMarlins baserunner Scott Cousins.

Thats one reason the Willie Mac award was near unanimousfor Posey, Bochy said.

He inspires everybody with the way he plays and approachesthe game and the way he comes out every day and carries himself, Bochy said.Im proud of him.

Said Posey: Hopefully Im somebody guys can look at and sayI go about things the right way. Im ready to play. Hopefully Im a guy peoplecan look up to and bounce stuff off of. I try to be the best teammate I canbe.

The Giants certainly needed leadership after losing Cabrera,who was leading the majors in hits and runs on the day he was suspended.

As Posey told me earlier this month: Ivenever been on a team thats been through something like that. I didnt knowwhat to expect, to tell you the truth. So I think everybody should be happywith how they handled it. I mean, really, what choice did we have?

Posey responded by being more productive thanever in the cleanup spot. Since the All-Star break, hes hitting .392 with 13home runs, 20 doubles and 52 RBI in 60 games. He has a 1.125 OPS over thatspan.

And if Posey wins a batting title? Will it becheapened in any way because Cabrera finished with a .346 average?

No, not at all, Bochy said, making a sour face. Busterhas been here all year. Melky had to miss a lot of games. So I wouldnt look atit like that. I stay on the positive side. If he wins it, he earned it.

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ty Blach is the young one in the race to be the fifth starter, but on Sunday he sounded like a veteran. Asked if he has gotten a hint one way or the other about his opening day role, Blach smiled.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day and trying to get better,” Blach said. “I’m enjoying the process and having fun.”

Smooth. 

Those days are adding up to a nice spring for Blach, the left-hander trying to unseat Matt Cain. While Bruce Bochy didn’t shed any additional light on the current lean, team officials hinted Sunday that this is not as open-and-shut as it seems. Matt Cain, who will start Tuesday, looked like a lock to be the fifth starter a week ago, but the Giants are considering all options because they have an off day during the first week and two more shortly thereafter. 

“We’ve had discussions every day,” Bochy said. “We’ve got some tough calls.”

The Giants are expected to announce their official rotation when they return home for the Bay Bridge Series. Whether he’s starting, long-relieving, or pitching in a completely new role, Blach has certainly done all he can to make sure he’s in the big leagues on April 2. He gave up two runs over six innings Sunday, walking one and striking out one while giving up seven hits. Blach has allowed 10 runs in 20 1/3 innings this spring, but four of those came when he was ambushed coming out of the bullpen one day.

“Wherever I’ll be, I know I’ll be in a good spot,” Blach said. “I’m just looking forward to getting the season rolling.

After pitching out of the bullpen most of the spring, Blach got his pitch count up to 85 on Sunday. 

“We’ve gotten him stretched out,” Bochy said. “That’s a solid, solid job. We’ve got guys stretched out where you want them. We’ve got some flexibility. We’ll see as we get close here which way we’ll go.”

POSITION BATTLES: The Giants will carry a backup for Denard Span, and for about a month it looked like Gorkys Hernandez would be that guy. But Hernandez has slumped so badly this spring that he went over the minor league facility Sunday to get a ton of extra at-bats, and Justin Ruggiano has emerged, reaching base in nine of his last 16 plate appearances. The plan a few days back was for Ruggiano to go to Sacramento and get 50 or so at-bats to see where he’s at, but this is another race that could change in the coming week. 

Cory Gearrin has done his part to hold off any charging relievers, throwing two sharp innings while going back-to-back for the first time this spring. 

FAMILIAR FACES: A rough day for a couple of longtime Giants. Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco both have oblique injuries, hurting their odds of breaking with the Twins and Diamondbacks, respectively. Elsewhere, David Hernandez showed that he made a smart decision asking for his release. He was signed by the Braves. 

AROUND CAMP: Hunter Pence really does do all he can to make every single teammate feel welcome in the clubhouse. He spent some time with young right-hander Roberto Gomez on Sunday morning, learning a few Spanish phrases. When the players went out to warm up, Pence threw with Jae-Gyun Hwang. These are small gestures, but for the new guys, they matter. 

BARRY’S BACK: We all knew Barry Bonds would step into the cage at some point, and on a quiet Sunday morning, there he was. Bonds, 52, took about five or six easy hacks before crushing one out to deep right. He’s still got it. The other day, reporters asked Bonds if he could suit up in the WBC if asked. He said he can absolutely still hit, but he would need to DH and he would need a day or two off before games. Being a big league hitter is not easy, even if he always made it look that way.

 

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants knew Barry Bonds would step back into the box at some point. It happened Sunday, with Bonds taking a few cracks at BP pitches from Gary Davenport.

Bonds warmed up with a couple of lighter swings and then blasted a homer to deep right. That was enough, as the 52-year-old walked away with a big smile on his face. 

Bonds is in camp as a special instructor, and he still picks his spots to show off his legendary swing. When he was the Marlins' hitting coach last season, he beat slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an impromptu home run derby.