Posey: 'I felt normal'

726016.jpg

Posey: 'I felt normal'

PHOENIX Buster Posey made a critical error. He groundedout with the tying run in scoring position to end the game. You could say hisfirst major league contest in more than 10 months couldve gone better.

But those almost seemed like nits to pick. The way theGiants see it, Posey was on the field for the entirety of a game that mattered.And all of it mattered, all right.

I felt normal, said Posey, uttering three words that willgive hope to any Giants fan.

Posey walked in his first plate appearance Friday and linedtwo singles. He just missed a cutter from Arizona closer J.J. Putz a goodpitch to hit just got on top of it but earlier in the game he managed toextend his hitting streak to 14 games.

RECAP: Lincecum struggles, Giants lose opener to D'Backs 5-4

Yes, thats right. Posey had a 13-game streak going on May25, the night he ripped three ankle ligaments and broke his leg in a home-platecollision.

According to STATS Inc., Posey owns the longest current streakin the majors. (Although Magglio Ordonez is semi-retired, officially, with an18-game streak. And the Dodgers Matt Kemp entered his game Friday night with a13-gamer in tow.)

No.3 hitter Pablo Sandovals eyes grew wide when asked whathe thought about seeing Posey behind him in the on-deck circle.

Oh, its exciting, Sandoval said. He played very well forthe first game after the injury. Hes a great player. Were going to do a lotof things with him.

Posey's error came in the sixth inning, before Ryan Roberts' tiebreaking, bases-loaded double. Posey tried to pounce on Jason Kubel's nubber in front of the plate before it spun foul. But he bobbled it and Kubel beat the throw in a close play.

"If I could go back, I might trap it with my glove," said Posey, who tried to grab the spinning ball out of the air.

Tim Lincecum only worked with Posey once this spring, andalthough the first inning was a rocky one, he said they found a rapport.

Its just going back to that old regular comfort that wehave as pitchers out there, Lincecum said. When we have Buster out there, weknow were in a good spot. Having him back wasnt in my mind at all. It wasjust a regular game and were trying to win.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Posey would play Saturdayafternoon, and if he looks fine, hell play the next day.

Hes not showing any effects so thats behind us, Bochysaid. Hes catching great.

It might be a little optimistic to say the injury is behindPosey. Hes been warned by the training staff to expect bouts of soreness allyear long. There will be times when he will need a break; its likely he willstart at first base on Monday in Colorado, for instance.

But for now, Posey is thrilled with where hes at.

Its been continuing to improve, he said. The more Imout there, the less I think about it. I tried my best in the spring to simulatewhat the intensity level would feel like. Im really happy with where I am.

So are his teammates including shortstop Brandon Crawford,who hadnt played on the same field with Posey in a game that counted since2009 at Single-A San Jose.

In spring training, I was able to get used to that alittle, Crawford said. But hes a great player. Having him on the field isalways good.

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.

 

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

Fight Notes: Harper thought this was over; Giants collide; Posey avoids it

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Nationals visited AT&T Park for the first time after the 2014 postseason series, Bryce Harper took to Instagram to compliment the city. “Nothing like SF! #BayArea” he wrote underneath a photo of the Bay Bridge. 

Harper, a Las Vegas kid, has always seemed to enjoy facing the Giants. He hasn’t hit well at AT&T Park, but he was a star in their 2014 matchup and he praised Brandon Crawford on Twitter during this year’s WBC. The greeting Monday was not a friendly one. 

Harper was retired three times by Matt Moore. The first pitch he saw from Hunter Strickland left a dent on his hip and set off a wild brawl. 

Strickland denied any intent. Harper seemed confused by the timing of the payback pitch. 

“It’s so in the past, it’s not even relevant anymore,” he said of their 2014 series, according to Dan Kolko of MASN. “They won the World Series that year. I don’t think he should even be thinking about what happened in the first round. He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”

The Giants were not surprised when Harper reacted the way he did. Now they’ll wait for Strickland to get hit with a suspension, and Harper is looking at a layoff, too. 

“You never want to get suspended or anything like that, but sometimes you’ve got to go and get him,” Harper said. “You can’t hesitate. You either go to first base or you go after him. And I decided to go after him.”

Strickland, about an hour after the fight, said he’s not sure what will happen in terms of discipline. 

“That’s their decision and obviously I’ll take whatever consequences come with it and we’ll go from there,” he said. 

Any action by the league is unlikely to impact this series. Even if suspensions are handed down swiftly, players can appeal. Harper and Strickland may not be alone. Several players jumped into the fray aggressively and at least one non-active Giant — Hunter Pence — was right in the middle of the scrum. At the very least, he could be facing a fine for trying to help his teammate. 

“It doesn't look good when a guy gets hit but also on their side, the guy throws his helmet,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Strickland’s got to stand his ground. There’s no choice there. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen (with suspensions).”

One player who won’t face discipline: Madison Bumgarner, who is also on the DL but wisely stayed away from this one, even if it probably killed him to do so. 

--- The biggest hit didn’t come from Strickland or Harper. It was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse coming together in the middle of the field. Both players said they were fine. 

"I was just trying to get in there to break everything up," Morse said. "We lost the game, that's what's most important."

Ahhh, yes, the Giants lost 3-0. Bochy seemed particularly peeved that Strickland chose the eighth inning of a 2-0 game to exact revenge, and you can bet some teammates weren't thrilled. We'll see if there's anything more to this Tuesday. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Bochy said he had not heard any reports of players getting injured, but he also admitted that he didn't see most of the collisions and had no idea what happened with Morse and Samardzija, who had a world-class reaction, by the way.  

--- As with the incident with the Dodgers a couple weeks ago, Buster Posey stayed out of this one. Smartly. 

"After it happened I saw Harper point and the next thing you know he's going out after them," Posey said. "Those are some big guys tumbling on the ground. You see Michael Morse, as big as he is, and he's getting knocked around like a pinball."

Posey is not alone in staying away from these scrums where 250-pound dudes are flying at knees and ankles. Brandon Crawford can often be found on the outside, as well. It's smart, but I think something else was at play here today. Posey understands that the Giants are fighting for every scrap at this point. Every loss digs the hole that much deeper, and this happened with two outs in the eighth inning of a 2-0 game, against a team with a poor bullpen. I'd imagine there was some serious annoyance there. 

--- How angry was Strickland? It took three guys, three big guys, to drag him into the dugout: Pence, Mac Williamson, and George Kontos. 

"I was pretty fired up to be honest with you, but that’s just adrenaline," he said. 

--- Baseball fights are rather silly, but at least you get some phenomenal photos.