Programming note: Giants-Phillies coverage gets underway today with Giants Pregame Live at 3:30 p.m., then Kruk and Kuip are behind the mic for live baseball from Philadelphia at 4, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
PHILADELPHIA Giants manager Bruce Bochy was adamant: Thereis no rift between Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey.
There is no lack of confidence in Poseys ability to coaxthe Giants two-time Cy Young winner out of his season-long doldrums.
As curious as it looked for Bochy to start Eli Whiteside onFriday night, the sixth consecutive Lincecum start without Posey behind theplate, Bochy insisted that it was his call.
And what about the notion, reported as fact by at least onenational baseball scribe, that Posey likely wont catch Lincecum again thisseason?
That is completely false completely false, Bochy said.Timmy doesnt care who he throws to, and its my call when I want to getBuster a break.
At least as far as appearances are concerned, the Posey-Lincecumsituation went from a bit curious to downright strange on Friday. The Giantswere playing a night game after a day game in Atlanta, so there would appear tobe little incentive to rest Posey.
But Bochy said Posey was worn out after Thursdays game inwarm conditions. And Bochy acknowledged one other factor that hadnt beenspoken aloud until now: Catching Lincecum is a bear.
(Posey) wasnt going to catch all three, I wanted to givehim a breather, and to be honest, Timmy can be hard on a catcher, Bochy said. Hecan beat you up pretty good, and I didnt want Buster to be in another toughgame after catching on hot weather (Thursday).
And thats the truth. Its totally my decision here.
Bochy also anticipated the next question, saying he hasevery confidence in Poseys ability to handle Lincecum.
Youve watched him, Bochy said. You know how many ballshe bounces. You see the movement. And hes got such great stuff. He does liketo throw a lot of balls down in the dirt. He does that effectively.
Busters handled him fine. Its just that day gameyesterday, he felt it. Talking to him, he felt it.
I dont want to wear him down. You get to a point ofdiminishing returns with guys and then they need two or three days off to gettheir legs back.
Posey, who is starting at first base in the series opener atCitizens Bank Park, is on pace to start 108 games at catcher. Thats in the middleto high end of the range that the coaching staff and front office expected inspring training.
The offshoot is that Brandon Belts bat is giving way toWhiteside. That was less of a concern when Hector Sanchez was the backupcatcher. But now the Giants will have problems lengthening the lineup on dayswhen Posey isnt behind the plate.