Posey pleased after catching five, running bases

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Posey pleased after catching five, running bases

MESA, Ariz. It wasnt much of a test, but Buster Posey ranthe bases Friday his first game experience as a baserunner in more than ninemonths.

Posey was 1 for 2 with a walk, and both times he didntadvance. He ran on fly balls with two outs, both times hitting second base withhis right foot.

One small step for man

Im sure its in the back of my mind, said Posey, abouthitting the base with his good foot. But when youre trying to get from onebase to another, its not going to happen every time.

Posey caught a spring-high five innings and said he washappy with it again. The next step is to get five at-bats as a DH in minorleague camp on Saturday. Hell lead off every inning. In that relaxed-rules environment, he could elect to use apinch runner each time, too. But hes not planning on it.

Show off my speed, he said.

Manager Bruce Bochy plans to give Posey a long break after Saturday's activity. He'll rest Posey on Sunday and the team is off Monday. The plan is for Posey to get back behind the plate on Tuesday and catch six innings.

Posey didnt show any noticeable signs of struggle with his surgically repaired left ankle and he formed a solid battery with left-hander Eric Surkamp, then Jeremy Affeldt.

I thought he looked good, Posey said of Surkamp, whoallowed just a home run to Mike Rizzo in four innings. He did a good jobmixing pitches. With command of his fastball, he struggled in the first inning.But he got better as he went along.

Surkamp struck out four, walked one and flashed a goodbreaking ball that resulted in some swing-throughs. Surkamp also hasincorporated his slider in his last two outings.

That comes with just getting arm speed back, Surkamp said.The first couple outings, I felt my arm stopping. Its just keeping the armmoving along with the lower body.

About Posey, Surkamp said, He looked great. Its nicethrowing to him. He puts down the signs and you just roll with it.

Posey, whose first hit of the spring was a home run on Wednesday, had a good at-bat while lining a single in the second inning. With a two-strike count against Cubs left-hander Matt Garza, Posey threw his bat at an outside pitch and got enough barrel on it to whistle it past the second baseman.

You never unlearn how to hit, do you?

"Any time you can go deep into the count and get barrel on a tough pitch, you're happy with the at-bat," Posey said.

Bochy liked what he saw from his cleanup hitter, too.

"He's not there. He's got a ways to go, and he'd tell you that," Bochy said. "But to see him with two strikes, going the other way on a pretty good breaking ball, that's what he does so well. He's one of those talents (who) has the ability to adjust on the fly. That's what he did with that pitch. He's a great two-strike hitter, So I think that was a great sign."

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

Giants spring training Day 44: Marrero caps huge spring with eighth homer

MESA, Ariz. — The Giants went 0-62 last season when trailing after eight innings. Chris Marrero wasn’t around for any of that, but it’s a stat that could help Marrero as he tries to lock up a bench spot. 

The first baseman/left fielder crushed a three-run shot in the ninth inning Tuesday, wiping out a two-run deficit against the Cubs. Marrero also has two walk-off homers this spring. 

“This kid, you see it when he goes up there. He’s got great focus,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s intensity and determination. From day one, you could see it in his at-bats. Late in the game, he seems very comfortable. He wants to go up there.”

Tuesday’s homer, which shot out to right-center, was the eighth of the spring for Marrero. That ties him with a guy named Bryce Harper for the MLB lead, and the vast majority of Marrero’s bombs were no-doubters. 

“It’s been a great spring for him,” Bochy said. “The last game here, it seems fitting that he would do something like that. He’s already done it a couple of times. This kid has done all he can. I love his swing and the work that he’s put in.”

With Michael Morse down, Marrero is the best remaining option as a power right-handed bat off the bench, a glaring need a year ago. Justin Ruggiano, another one in the mix, followed Marrero’s shot with one of his own. The homer was Ruggiano’s second of the spring. 

Ruggiano is a better fit defensively in the outfield, but Marrero has been solid at first and Bochy said he’s fine with what he’s seen in left field. “He’s still working on it,” Bochy said, noting that Marrero will play left field during the Bay Bridge Series. 

LEADING OFF: Denard Span saw a wild pitch bounce off the bricks behind home plate, and he never slowed down. Span sped around third in the second inning and slid in ahead of the throw. The notable part of the play wasn’t that a quirky bounce allowed Span to take 180 feet on a wild pitch. It was that his legs did. The 33-year-old has been a different guy in his second spring with the Giants. Last year, Span was coming off hip surgery. This spring, his old game has returned.

“I’ve just been able to do the things I’ve always been able to do,” Span said. “I have more control of my body. I’m stronger. I had a full offseason and a full spring training to get my legs up under me. The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt much better and more confident.”

A healthy and spry Span would be a big boost to a lineup that often looked flat in the second half last season Span showed off every aspect of his game Tuesday. He blasted a leadoff homer on Jake Arrieta’s second pitch, and during their second matchup, he put a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. Span stole second easily before his race home. 

“He’s playing terrific baseball and he’s been a real inspiration, being our leadoff hitter,” Bochy said. “That’s what we needed — energy at the top of the order.”

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez (shoulder) is feeling much better, and Bochy said he’ll play third base during the games at AT&T Park before getting four or five innings at shortstop on Saturday. Joe Panik (drilled in the back on Monday) said he’s feeling fine. 

POSITION BATTLES: Here’s the latest on Matt Cain, and here’s an update on Aaron Hill and Jimmy Rollins. 

ICYMI: Big news today from NBC Bay Area. Matt Williams, Javier Lopez and Cody Ross have joined out pre- and post-game shows. You can find stories about those guys on our homepage here. Those shows will also now be an hour long on both ends of the game, adding an extra hour of Giants coverage to your day. Which is good. 

That’s all on the way during the regular season. If you missed any of our spring coverage, you can find a bunch of features here, and podcasts here (spring pods included Mike Morse, Matt Cain, Mac Williamson, Jimmy Rollins and others, with one more coming this week). And in case you’re new to our coverage, the Twitter account is here and the Facebook page is here. Next stop, San Francisco … 

 

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

Giants appear to have decided between Hill or Rollins for roster spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Aaron Hill didn't play in the final Cactus League game, but he didn't need to. By simply being on the flight to San Francisco on Tuesday, Hill got good news. 

The veteran infielder was due a $100,000 bonus on Tuesday, and while the Giants haven't formally announced their roster, you don't pay a man that much money to come play three exhibition games against the A's. Hill appears to have made this club as a second backup infielder, along with Conor Gillaspie. Another veteran, Jimmy Rollins, got the news that the Giants are headed in a different direction. 

Team officials spoke with Rollins this week about their future plans. He was not on the travel roster Tuesday and did not attend the game against the Cubs. 

"We're waiting to hear back from him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He knows the scenario and the situation. We're waiting to hear back."

Rollins, 38, showed the Giants that he can still handle shortstop defensively, and he was a quick learner when he moved to second. But he hit just .119, falling behind Hill, Kelby Tomlinson and others in the mix for bench spots. It would seem unlikely that Rollins would want to get additional at-bats in Triple-A, but that feeling hadn't been fully conveyed to team officials Tuesday. There was a hope that Rollins, an East Bay native, might join the team for the Bay Bridge Series, which finishes Saturday in Oakland. Rollins grew up an A's fan.

Rollins and Hill were part of a crowded infield group at the start of camp. Gordon Beckham also had a retention bonus and he asked to be released when he was told he wouldn't make the opening day roster. David Hernandez, the third player due a bonus, also was released. He promptly signed with the Atlanta Braves.