Lincecum, Giants thrilled with Posey's progress

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Lincecum, Giants thrilled with Posey's progress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Buster Posey caught Tim Lincecum on Tuesday. Heranged to pluck a foul pop out of the air. He threw out two of four attemptedbase stealers. He drew a walk in three plate appearances. He slid into second,too.

All in all, it was a good way to spend his 25thbirthday.

Heres the icing on that birthday cake: For the first timethis spring, he was catching on back-to-back days.

It was one thing to see Buster back (in the clubhouse),Tim Lincecum said. Its another thing to see him doing all the things he didbefore he got injured.

Lincecum and Posey, the Giants opening-day battery, workedtogether for the first time this spring in Tuesdays 5-3 loss to the LosAngeles Angels at Scottsdale Stadium. The last time they teamed up, it was May21 and Lincecum threw a three-hit shutout against the As. It was so long ago,Andres Torres was in the lineup that day. Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Miguel Tejada, too.

Four days after that, Poseys ankle got ripped apart in ahome-plate collision. Hell deal with aches and pains and breaking scar tissue throughout this season. But for now, hes handling the pounding without any apparentlimitation.

And the Giants are thrilled about that.

Its all going well and were excited, said Giants managerBruce Bochy, who might have Posey play first base or DH on Wednesday. My senseis hell feel fine tomorrow.

Posey caught seven innings for the second consecutive daybut said he easily couldve worked all nine. Thats the last box to check.

Im excited to see how it feels tomorrow but by all signsit should feel good, Posey said. I felt the same Ive felt all spring. Imjust excited to get going. Everything is go.

Lincecum had to smile when Posey threw out Albert Pujols atsecond base. He wondered how much the ankle would limit Posey, so that was anencouraging sight.

You see him throwing out runners and you put it in your headwhat hes capable of doing when hes out there, Lincecum said. He seems likethe same confident Posey that he is. Hes not talking about his ankle, not usingit as an excuse. Its, Im Posey. Im here to do my job.

Its like hes been on hiatus for a year and now hesback.

Lincecum even took time to wish Posey a happy birthday although he didnt realize it until he heard screams from well-wishers in thestands.

Posey said he was looking forward to an evening justhanging with the family."

"You know me," he said. "Pretty boring."

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

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USATSI

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

Giants notes: 'Disappointing' road trip; Nuñez hopes to return Friday

CHICAGO — As they packed up at AT&T Park eight days ago, the Giants talked of taking their momentum on the road. It sounded pie-in-the-sky given the way they had played in April and on the previous trip, but when they took the first two in St. Louis, players started to believe they had finally turned the corner. 

And then came a Sunday loss, and three of four at Wrigley Field. There was no happy flight Thursday. The Giants lost 5-1, again looking flat against a less-than-elite pitcher, and ended up with a 3-4 trip. They’ll finish the first two months of the season without a winning road trip. They're 9-19 away from AT&T Park. 

“It’s disappointing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Once you win the first one here, you’re hoping you get greedy and take the series, but we didn’t. That’s disappointing.”

The Giants entered the road trip with a 6.62 starters’ ERA on the road, but pitching wasn’t the issue. Sure there were too many meatballs — most of the 10 Cubs homers in this series came on pitches left right over the fat part of the plate — but the starters did their job. The lineup couldn’t keep up. The Giants had just five hits Thursday and finished the trip with 24 runs in seven games. They started the trip nine games out in the West and finished 11 back of the Rockies, their largest deficit since 2013. 

“You come here and take the first game with our (top) guys throwing after that and you’re hoping for a better result,” Jeff Samardzija said. “We started out good and that St. Louis series puts you in a good spot to salvage the trip. We’ll go home now with six solid games on our home turf and they’re six big games for us.”

The Braves and Nationals come to town. The Giants will see Jaime Garcia on Friday, followed by Mike Foltynewicz and R.A. Dickey. 

--- Samardzija’s run without a walk ended at 154 batters when Ian Happ drew a free pass in the seventh. The streak was the best of Samardzija’s career. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said he got treatment on a tight hamstring throughout the game and he’ll go in early Friday to continue treatment. He hopes to start Friday. 

--- Christian Arroyo was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .191. Before the game, Bochy talked at length about Arroyo’s recent struggles and the plan with him going forward. 

--- If you missed it earlier, I took a tour of the visiting bullpen here. After going in there, I talked to some more pitchers about what they don’t like. It seems to mostly be the fact that you’re separated from the game. One said some of the relievers who pitched Monday had no idea it was raining because they had been getting loose inside for several innings. Seems like there’s a pretty easy fix here: The Cubs can just turn part of that Under Armour wall into a chain-link fence, or have some sort of window that opens up to the outside but doesn’t interfere with outfielders. Maybe next year …