Posey: 'I'm humbled to be here with best players in the game'


Posey: 'I'm humbled to be here with best players in the game'

KANSAS CITY--After having what would have been an All-Star season cut short with a devastating ankle injury in 2011, Buster Posey will appear in his first ever MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday. His .289 batting average and 43 RBI this season were enough to solidify a position as the National League starting catcher.

At this time last year Posey couldn't even walk. So for him to be back at the major league level as one of the Giants' offensive leaders and to be starting the MLB All-Star Game is "definitely special" Posey said Monday.

Comcast SportsNet caught up with the Giants All-Star catcher as he reflected on coming back from injury and the opportunity to play with some of the best in the game.

On catching Matt Cain in the All-Star Game

It will be really special. We found out about it yesterday and we were both fired up. And Cain's a fun guy to catch, so I'm looking forward to it.
VIDEO: Cain on throwing to Posey -- 'Hopefully we can get into a groove'

On the prospect of catching R.A. Dickey

I've never caught a knuckle ball guy, so I'm sure it'll be a little bit of a challenge but I think it's something we'll probably discuss today and get straight. If I do, if there's a chance I'll talk to Dickey and maybe talk to him and pick his brain a little bit and go from there.

On the excitement of his first All-Star Game appearance

I don't think so. I don't think I've soaked it in. I've mentioned before how I was just excited to be back on the field. It's a whirlwind. I'm humbled to be here with the best players in the game and I'm just looking forward to it.

It's a cool experience to be around this caliber of players and I'm going to enjoy it.

On what makes Matt Cain so special

He understands how he wants to get guys out. He's able to make adjustments in-game from pitch to pitch, he's able to execute. On top of that, he's got good enough stuff that if he makes a mistake sometimes he can get away with it. He's a competitor so it's fun to work with a guy that competes like he does.

On having the support of Giants fans

I think for us getting to play there, we see what kind of fan base we have. I haven't played anywhere in my short career that can compare to that ball park as far as the fans coming out and the intensity they have each day and each night. I can't thank them enough; fans around the country. I especially want to thank our fans in San Francisco. Hopefully we can make them proud.

VIDEO: Melky -- 'I'm happy to represent the Giants and our fans'

On facing Justin Verlander

Yeah it's absolutely exciting. I think he's one of the best arms in the game and you're always excited about an opportunity to compete against the best.

On the added gratification of overcoming injury to make the All-Star Team

I think it would be gratifying either way, but it's definitely special. I was anxious to be back and competing at the major league level. This is kind of icing on the cake. It's sometimes kind of hard to believe that I'm here sometimes.

On the added incentive of home field advantage in the World Series

I think it can definitely make a difference. Regardless of whether it counted or not, I feel like you'd get the same intensity out of the guys here, because I think we're all competitors and we want to do well and we want to--like I mentioned before, it's fun to compete against the best.

VIDEO: Sandoval -- 'Giants fans are better than New York fans'

So there is obviously some weight on the game, but even if that weight wasn't on the game I don't know if it would make a difference in intensity the way the guy played to game.

On growing up as a Chipper Jones fan in Georgia

I was. I grew up in south Georgia so I watched the Braves a lot. I've watched them for a long time now, so I'm excited to get to see him. Growing up watching him I wouldn't think that I would have the opportunity to play with him and it speaks to the longevity he's had in his career.

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryder Jones is 23 years old and Christian Arroyo just turned 22, so when Jones got the call to the big leagues, the first step in the preparation process was about what you would expect. Jones and Arroyo fired up the PlayStation and Arroyo started pumping pitches as Jacob deGrom, the starter Jones will face in his debut Saturday. 

“I faced him last night and got a hit and a pop-up,” Jones said, smiling. 

The real thing will be considerably tougher, but Jones said he’s looking forward to the challenge, noting that deGrom will help make his debut that much more memorable. The Giants are looking forward to the debut, too. Jones is a player Bruce Bochy has been eyeing for a while, and he has finally been deemed ready. 

While Eduardo Nuñez is on the disabled list, Jones will be the everyday third baseman. He’s hitting seventh Saturday, one spot ahead of 24-year-old Austin Slater. Arroyo is sidelined by a bone bruise but he should join the other two at some point later this season. 

“Unfortunately we’ve put ourselves in a position here (with our record) where we’re going to look at younger players, but the good thing is that these guys are going to get a chance to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “They’re going to get some playing time. I look forward to watching him play.”

Jones took Aaron Hill’s roster spot after the veteran was designated for assignment. Bochy said Hill was one of his favorite players to manage, noting his professionalism and solid at-bats, despite the .132 average. He hopes Hill gets a shot on a contender, but that won’t be the case in San Francisco this year, and the Jones promotion was the latest indication that a rebuild/reload is underway. 

Drafted in the second round in 2013 — one round after Arroyo — Jones can play third, first and left field. He has more power than most in the farm system, and he’s athletic enough to handle three spots. The Giants will live with the mistakes at third for now, hopeful that the big arm can stick there. 

Jones was batting .299 with 10 homers and 16 doubles in 53 games for the River Cats. The knock on him has always been a lack of patience at the plate, but he has upped his on-base percentage to .390, a jump of 99 points from his 2016 season in Double-A. In June, Jones had put together a .343/.450/.701 slash line. 

“Patience at the plate is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “If you look at all my years in the minors, I was a little aggressive and antsy. You learn as you get older that you have to pick a pitch you can drive.”

The new approach has Jones in a big league lineup -- the real thing, not the video game version. He went millennial with his preparation, but his promotion was as old-school as it gets. The River Cats have a doubleheader Saturday and when Jones reached third base in Friday night’s game, manager Dave Brundage told him he would get one of the two games off. 

“I told him I could play two,” Jones said. “I know we have some older guys there.”

Brundage called him in later and told him he would only be playing the night game on Saturday. 

“But you’ll be in San Francisco,” the manager added. 

Jones called his parents, who will be in attendance, along with his brother and girlfriend. Then he fired up the PlayStation, packed, and prepared for a short flight to San Francisco. He was still so fired up Saturday morning that he couldn’t handle more than a 30-minute nap. 

“I didn’t know what time I could come to the park,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Called up on Saturday morning, Ryder Jones will man the hot corner and bat seventh in his MLB debut against the Mets.

New York Mets:
1. Curtis Granderson (L) CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Lucas Duda (L) 1B
6. Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
7. Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
8. Jose Reyes (S) SS
9. Jacob deGrom (L) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Austin Slater (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P