Giants lineup: Posey returns from concussion DL for opener vs Royals

Giants lineup: Posey returns from concussion DL for opener vs Royals

KANSAS CITY -- The Giants hoped that their quick move to put Buster Posey on the disabled list would pay off. They were right. 

Posey was in the lineup Tuesday as the Giants returned to Kansas City for the first time since the 2014 World Series, hitting fourth as the designated hitter. He missed the minimum seven days after being placed on the concussion DL last Tuesday. 

Posey was hit in the head by a 94 mph fastball in Monday's home opener and he felt mild symptoms overnight and the next morning. The Giants didn't want to take any chances, and Posey was sidelined. He made quick progress, taking BP, running the bases and playing catch throughout the weekend.

Manager Bruce Bochy said repeatedly that Posey would not be cleared to return unless he could catch, but the Giants did intend to take advantage of the DH spot to ease him back into the lineup. To make room for Posey on the active roster, the Giants designated catcher Tim Federowicz for assignment.

Giants (5-9)
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) DH
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Joe Panik (L) 2B
9. Chris Marrero (R) LF
P. Matt Cain RHP (1-0, 4.82 ERA)

Royals (6-6)
1. Alex Gordon (L) LF
2. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
3. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
4. Eric Hosmer (L) 1B
5. Salvador Perez (R) C
6. Brandon Moss (L) DH
7. Alcides Escobar (R) SS
8. Whit Merrifield (R) RF
9. Raul Mondesi (S) 2B
P. Jason Hammel RHP (0-1, 6.52 ERA)

***

--- If you missed it, here's an oral history of Madison Bumgarner's jog out of the bullpen. He'll start Wednesday night's game here. 

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a very important fact you need to keep in mind when talk of Johnny Cueto’s opt-out comes up, as it so often will over the next six weeks: The Giants always expected him to opt-out after this season, from the moment the ink was dry on the six-year, $130-million contract. 

When you sign at the top of your game and have a chance to hit the market at 31 years old and cash out a second time, you take it. Those are just the rules of professional sports. On the day Cueto was introduced, his agent, Bryce Dixon, said the two-year opt-out was important because they felt Cueto didn’t get a totally fair shot at free agency. 

“Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Dixon said in December of 2015. “I felt we could reestablish his actual value … He knows he’s as good as (David) Price and (Zack) Greinke, but his situation was a little different.”

The Giants were fine with this, too. The flip side of the opt-out is that if you have the chance to pay a dominant right-hander $46 million over two years, and then escape his mid- to late-thirties, you do it. Every time. You don’t even blink. 

So, here we are, in June of the second year of that deal, with reports that Cueto will opt out. You should take a deep breath because you should have already expected this. But if you didn’t, take comfort in this: By all indications, Cueto has not made a decision, even with the Giants having an unimaginably poor season. 

First of all, Cueto can't make a decision in June. What if the blisters return and he repeats his April ERA a couple more times? What if his elbow starts barking? There are no guarantees with pitchers, and until Cueto gets through the second season, there will be no finality with his decision. 

Aside from the fact that he really can’t make that decision, though, sources insist Cueto hasn’t made up his mind or even thought much about it. People familiar with his thinking continue to say the focus has been baseball all season long, from spring training through his last start. 

Cueto is said to be happy in San Francisco and he enjoys pitching in front of the crowd at AT&T Park. His biggest concern has been wins and losses, and in that respect, this has been a disappointing year for all involved. 

That record has brought the Giants to a crossroads, and this is where it gets interesting. The easy solution is to trade Cueto next month, avoid the opt-out situation entirely, and add prospects to a system lacking them. But, it’s complicated. The Giants do not intend a full teardown, and if they’re going for it again in 2018 — with their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, etc. locked in, that’s the plan — they’ll want that second ace at the top of the rotation. And if Bumgarner doesn’t return to form after an injury, they’ll need Cueto’s presence. 

The Giants have until July 31 to decide what to do with Cueto. He has until three days after the World Series ends to decide what to do with his contract. Here in June, by all indications, those decisions haven’t been made. 

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Clutch, late-game hitting by Hunter Pence has propelled him to the three hole as the Giants look to bounce back vs the Braves. Bruce Bochy has released the rest of his lineup for Game 2 of the series...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Austin Slater (R) LF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) P

Atlanta Braves:
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Johan Camargo (S) 3B
9. Jaime Garcia (L) P