Posey: 'I don't think I've been that excited to take live BP, ever'

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Posey: 'I don't think I've been that excited to take live BP, ever'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The first live batting practice is amuch-anticipated day in camp. Sergio Romo immediately figured out it was abigger deal than usual.Obviously, you know, said Romo, When the first hitter yousee is Buster Posey and hes getting a standing ovation.Posey got to compete against live pitching for the firsttime since May 25, when his left leg shattered in a home-plate collision. Sincethen, the gift of the game is being returned to him in small boxes. This onewas especially shiny.I dont think Ive been that excited to take live battingpractice ever, said Posey, his eyes joyfully wide.
Posey saw 15 pitches from Jeremy Affeldt and Romo, swung ateight and managed to get at least a piece each time. His last round againstRomo included an apparent ground-rule double (on a slider) and a crisp linedrive to left field (on a challenge fastball.)REWIND: Posey pumped to face live pitching
Romo has never been so glad to give up a couple of ringingknocks.Its very uplifting and exciting to have Buster out there,doing whats normal, Romo said. Because hes not normal. There are few guyslike him. But for him to say hes feeling normal is a huge lift for us.Romo said his competitive juices started to flow and he hadto remind himself to use the session to work on his pitches. But he also wantedto find something out about his cleanup-hitting catcher. So he grooved afastball on the last pitch.Like, 'Lets see how far he hits it, Romo said. I did it(two years ago) to (Juan) Uribe when he took me deep. Id venture to sayBuster is comfortable (facing) me. It doesnt offend me when they swing. Hey,take your hacks. I want you to be ready as much as I want to be ready.Posey tried to get ready by standing in during bullpensessions to track pitches. It was a different feeling to react in the box,though. Hes going through the same exercise as the rest of the hitters, excepthis layoff has been more than twice as long.Its all about getting your timing, Posey said. Itsseeing some pitches and working on backing up the ball as much as I can. Iguess I didnt really know what to expect, but I was happy with how I felt. Thats the first arm Ive seen sincelast May. Regardless of the result, the goal is to see the ball as well as youcan and get your timing. So whether you square it up or not, you feel on time.Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Poseys excitement levelwould be the same when he plays in his first game. Its never easy, but helooks comfortable and he feels good, and thats whats important.When will that first game be? Will Posey start theexhibition opener against Arizona next Sunday? Bochy said he wouldnt have ananswer for two or three more days.But I will say hes doing fine, Bochy said.Sundays workout also marked the first time this spring thatPosey caught on consecutive days. He received Matt Cain for the first BPsession on the main field, then joined the hitting group against Affeldt andRomo.BAGGARLY: Cain, Sandoval involved in scary moments during live BP
Posey said Cain looked really good. His ball was jumping.He threw fastballs and changeups, then curves. He looked great.As for Poseys reconstructed ankle, he said he hasnt dealtwith any setbacks thus far this spring. But he continues to take it day to daywith the training staff.In these past nine months Ive got it figured out where mythreshold can be, said Posey, who required two surgeries to repair three tornligaments. I know what that is after getting loose, and knowing when not topush it.

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

Giants get blanked by Braves, now have lowest-scoring team in majors

SAN FRANCISCO — Over in Cleveland earlier Friday, Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer for the visiting team and five other players chipped in a pair of hits. The Royals had six runs, which meant that when Jim Johnson closed the Giants out a few hours later, what has seemed true all season became officially true. The Giants have the lowest-scoring lineup in the majors.

At 3.32 runs per game, they have dipped below the equally-disappointing Royals (3.38). They are capable at the moment of making any pitching staff look dominant. A 2-0 shutout was the first of the year for the Braves, who previously had just two games this season where they allowed fewer than two runs. 

“Six runs in (the last) four games … I thought we would come home and get some rips in tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Bruce Bochy said. 

The manager’s frustration showed late in this one. After the only rally of the game — a two-run single by opposing pitcher Jaime Garcia — Bochy took his cap off and rubbed his forehead. He dipped his head and briefly stood as if he was going to fall asleep on the rail. The bats were equally still. 

The Giants had just four hits, all of them singles against Garcia, who is a nice pitcher but hardly one of the league’s best. One was an infield single by Eduardo Nuñez, another a single through Garcia’s five-hole, and a third a generous ruling by the official scorekeeper. 

“It comes down to, you’ve got to get some hits and create opportunities, and we’re not doing it very often,” Bochy said. “It’s just a matter of guys getting somewhat hot. We did, we had some success, and we won some games. The thing you like to see is some good cuts and I didn’t think we got enough of those tonight.”

That run, which spanned the last homestand and small parts of two road trips, has come to a screeching halt. The Giants have lost five of six. It seems silly to scoreboard-watch in May, especially when a team is playing like this, but it’s worth noting that the teams the Giants eventually need to catch keep winning. They fell 12 games back of the Rockies and 11 back of the streaking Diamondbacks. They are 9 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who might be the best team in the whole league. 

Matt Cain did his part to allow the Giants to keep pace. He got beat just once in seven sharp innings. The Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, who bounced a single into left. Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw was short and hit the runner. A second run scored. 

“That’s tough,” Cain said. “(Garcia) was throwing the ball really good and that’s what it comes down to, you’re looking for that one hit and he did it. He’s a good hitter. We’ve seen it in St. Louis. But it definitely is tough when the pitcher does that … it just stinks on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher.”

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

Instant Analysis: Giants bats silenced, losing streak now at four games

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The return to AT&T Park was a huge boost to Matt Cain, who has wild home-road splits this season, but it did predictable things to an already-limp Giants offense. 

The Giants entered the night as the lowest-scoring team in the National League and they got blanked 2-0 by Jaime Garcia and the Braves. Garcia out-dueled Cain and provided the only offense of the night, as well. The Giants have dropped five of six.

Here are five things to know from AT&T Park, where they keep having Star Wars Night but they’ve never once celebrated Super Troopers … 

--- Cain entered the seventh with a 0.94 ERA at home this season, but the opposing pitcher busted him. With one on and two outs, the Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson to get to Garcia, a career .145 hitter. He bounced a single into shallow left and it looked like Brandon Belt had a play at the plate, but his throw home hit the runner. That allowed Swanson to race home for a 2-0 lead. 

--- Cain’s final line: seven innings, one earned run, one walk, three strikeouts. Yep, that’s a Caining.

--- Justin Ruggiano is here for the opportunity he was given in the sixth. Ruggiano has always crushed lefties, and Bruce Bochy put him behind Buster Posey on Friday night. The Braves intentionally walked Posey to load the bases for Ruggiano, who grounded out to third. Even the platoon splits are failing the Giants. 

--- If you need a little perspective on Christian Arroyo’s struggles, look across the field. Swanson, the former No. 1 overall pick, is batting .198. The shortstop slashed .302/.361/.442 as a rookie but his numbers are way down across the board, and he’s nearly two years older than Arroyo. These things take time. Having said that, Arroyo’s hole is pretty deep. He’s hitless in his last 21 at-bats after an 0 for 3.

--- There were three no-pitch intentional walks. I hope you used the extra ninety seconds wisely.