Posey: 'I don't feel like it'll be a big issue at all'

833113.jpg

Posey: 'I don't feel like it'll be a big issue at all'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Coming off a 5-1 road trip, whichculminated in a three-game sweep of the archrival Dodgers in Los Angeles, youwouldnt expect much cause for concern in Giants-land.But whenever Buster Posey is out of the lineup due to an injury, all bets areoff. At least Poseys issue is with his hamstring, and not hissurgically-repaired ankle.I've been feeling it forprobably four or five games, and the second game in L.A. I probably felt it alittle bit more, Posey said. Fortunately, I really never felt my hamstring betight, but I don't feel like it'll be a big issue at all.If you trust Posey and his manager Bruce Bochy, theresnothing to worry about.I'm feeling better today,Posey said before Thursdays series opener against the Atlanta Braves. Justtalking to head trainer Dave Groeschner, he thinks it's the smartest thing todo with 38 games to go. I'm definitely feeling better today.Bochy reiterated that the decision to rest his cleanup-hittingcatcher was more a matter of caution than necessityThis was a close call, Bochy said. Hes available to pinch hit. If somethinghappened where we had to put him behind the plate, we could today. But we justfelt like its not 100, its not quite worth the risk, so hes going to getanother day. But were all optimistic that hell be back there tomorrow. Butits good to have him available tonight, where yesterday I wasnt going to usehim at all.The Giants did just fine without Posey in Wednesday 8-4 win over the Dodgers,but could use his .350 home batting average, which ranks fourth in the NationalLeague. However, Posey is 0-for-6 with a strikeout against Thursdays Bravesstarter Tommy Hanson. He expects to return to the lineup for game two of fouragainst Atlanta on Friday, with veteran right-hander Ben Sheets scheduled tostart.I'mhoping tomorrow, Posey said of when he expects to return. I don't see anyreason why not.Bochy is equally optimistic that Poseys hamstring will be healthy enough for aFriday start. He also said that the Giants will be extra careful with Posey.Even when he comes back, well make sure not that wellhave him steal bases or anything that he does take it easy to a point wherehes not going to risk it, Bochy said. This is being cautious right now. Ifwe were at the end of September and had to win this game, maybe he wouldcatch.Both Bochy and Posey said that catching was not the concern.Rather, its running the bases that can aggravate a hamstring injury. So dontexpect Posey to see more time at first base as a result. When Bochy deems himready to run the bases, Posey will be back in the squat as usual.

Pablo Sandovals sore hamstring led to an early exit fromWednesdays game, but hes back in the lineup Thursday.Bochy said that he wouldnt hesitate to do the same thing if Sandovalshamstring injury acts up again.We had to take him out yesterday so its obviously not 100,Bochy said. Its hard to quantify what percent hes at. Only he knows that. Hefelt it a little bit, thats why he came out of the game yesterday. But hesgood to go today and well have to just keep an eye on him and if it tightensup during the game, hell come out again tonight.

Santiago Casilla threw back-to-back dominant outings in LosAngeles, and while Bochy isnt ready to abandon his closer-by-committeeapproach, he certainly took notice of his former closers resurgence after afinger blister and control issues forced him from a regular role in the ninthinning.Very encouraged by how he threw the ball, Bochy said. Andyou could see a difference in his attitude. He feels really good about wherehes at with the finger. So hes going to help out in that role.

There was an Aubrey Huff sighting at AT&T Park beforeThursdays game. The oft-injured and oft-slumping first baseman has missed 71games while on the disabled list three times, twice for a right knee sprain andonce for an anxiety disorder.Bruce Bochy said that the Giants will make a decision on what to do with Huff,who was eligible to be re-instated from the disabled list on August 14, verysoon.Hes going to be evaluated today and well make a decisionwhat were going to do with him, Bochy said. But hes going to do all thebaseball activities. Then well see where hes at and what the next move is.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.