SAN FRANCISCO Buster Posey couldnt walk at this time ayear ago. Many wondered if hed ever catch again.
Now hes going to start behind the plate for the NationalLeague in the All-Star Game.
Posey didnt just hold off the Cardinals Yadier Molina to winthe balloting at his position. He didnt just lead all NL players with7,621,370 votes. His total was the highest by an NL player in history.
Yeah, its kind of hard to wrap my head around it rightnow, Posey said.
Giants fans stuffed the ballot box at every position toelect outfielder Melky Cabrera and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. But thesupport was even broader for Posey, whose comeback from last years devastatingankle injury resonated with fans outside San Francisco as well.
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Did Posey ever envision being an All-Star during those threemonths after he broke his leg, tore three ankle ligaments and required tworeconstructive surgeries?
Ah, probably not, Posey said. At this point last year Iwas concerned with getting healthy and getting back on the field. Thats whyIm enjoying every bit of this season.
Im obviously really excited. Its little overwhelming. Ijust thank all the fans that voted. Theyre the ones who make this special forus. Its gonna be a blast. You dont think about it that much, but when ithappens, its humbling. As long as I can remember, I watched the All-Star Gameand the home run derby. Its a bit surreal to think Ill be in one.
Theres plenty surreal about catching a knuckleball,and Posey will have to learn quickly. Theres a good chance hell catch theMets R.A. Dickey, who is among the top candidates to start the game.
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Who knows? Maybe Giants right-hander Matt Cain, anotherAll-Star, should start throwing a knuckler so Posey can practice.
Right? Cain said. I was telling him, Youd better startworking on it, learn how to block it.
Said Posey: Well see what happens.
Posey entered Sunday with a .298 average, 10 home runs and41 RBIs. Molina, who was named as a reserve, was hitting .312 with 13 homers.Philadelphias Carlos Ruiz is having a better season than either of them; heleads the NL with a .356 average and has 11 homers with 43 RBIs.
Ruiz was named as a reserve as well.
But they dont have Poseys story of perseverance, whichclearly mattered to voters. Hes the Giants first NL top vote getter sinceBarry Bonds.
Hes a great player whos beloved in this city, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants have done their best to pace Posey, starting himat first base 10 times and four more at designated hitter.
Physically, I feel great, Posey said. Its kind of hardto believe were almost at the halfway point. Im excited for the second half.In six or eight weeks, its going to get really fun coming down the wire andIm looking forward to it.