Humble Posey reaches historic milestone in Giants' 6-0 win

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Humble Posey reaches historic milestone in Giants' 6-0 win

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SAN FRANCISCO Bruce Bochy set a career-high in RBIs with22 on Sept. 8, 1986. Six months later, Buster Posey was born. Twenty-five yearslater, Posey became just the third Giants catcher since 1900 to drive in 100runs in a single season.I didnt know that; thats pretty cool, Posey said whentold he joined Walker Cooper, who drove in 122 in 1947, and Dick Dietz, whoracked up 107 RBIs in 1970. Posey also became the first Giant since Barry Bondsin 2004 to reach triple digits.Bochy, a man who often put on the tools of ignorance, knowshow hard it is to accomplish that feat as a catcher.Its quite a milestone, especially for a catcher, Bochysaid. Those guys have to take a lot of time off. They get banged up prettygood back there.Posey took "banged up" to another level when his season was cut short on May25, 2011. But that collision at home plate, replayed so many times on everysports television program across the country, is now a distant memory.Despite the long odds for Posey to be as productive as he has been for the 2012Giants, Bochy is not surprised that his catcher joined the century club. Heexpected it, in fact.I did, to be honest. Thats how good I think he is. Itsbeen really pretty incredible how hes bounced back from that injury. We reallydidnt know how much we could play him and hes a special talent. Im notsurprised at what hes done.As expected, the hyper-humble Posey deflected most of thecredit for his milestone. I think an accomplishment like that cant be done withoutyour teammates, without guys getting on base, Posey said. The speed of guyson our team getting into scoring position, moving runners, its something thatI think is only accomplished when you have help from your teammates.The three hitters in front of Posey, Angel Pagan, MarcoScutaro and Pablo Sandoval, combined to go 4-for-12 Wednesday in the Giants6-0 win over the Diamondbacks. Even Matt Cain, who technically bats in front of Posey at No.9, collected two hits and scored the Giants first run.
RECAP: Giants 6, D'backs 0
You get lucky every once in a while, Cain explained.Luck was hardly a factor in Cains seven shutout innings, however. Despitethree inning-opening errors behind him, the longest tenured Giant needed just91 pitches to set a new career-high in strikeouts (he racked up six for 191 onthe season) and add to his career-best win total (he now owns 16).Posey, always so reserved when talking about himself, gushed (by comparison)about Cain.It seemed like he was really effortless tonight, Poseysaid. The ball was coming out good. He moved the ball around to both sides ofthe plate. He did a nice job.Cain said the errors, two by Brandon Crawford and one byBrandon Belt, motivated him more on the mound.Thats what you want to do as a pitcher when funky playshappen behind you if guys make errors, which is going to happen, Cain said. Itsthe same thing as when we make bad pitches -- were looking for guys to pick usup. I think we just have to put our head down and worry about getting guys out,not worry about letting an error affect anything.Bochy elaborated on how his unflappable starter stays sofocused on the mound.He doesnt get distracted.; if anything, he tries to pickthem up, Bochy said. He knows theyre trying out there. He never makesexcuses and thats what you hope a pitcher does when you make a few errors likewe did tonight.While Cain deserves plenty of praise for his outing and season-longperformance, the night was all about Posey. He received a standing ovation fromthe fans after his milestone RBI and got the ball back, even if he doesnt knowwhere to put it yet. While Posey may have a hard time patting himself on theback, Cain had no issue talking about how important his battery-mate is.I think his numbers show that. But I think what fans dontget to see is what he does in the clubhouse, and the way he prepares for games,the way he talks to guys. Hes really been an unspoken leader and hes beenthat way since day one. I think that shows a lot of his character.

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.