Posey won't play in spring opener

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Posey won't play in spring opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy penciled out his lineup for Saturday's exhibition opener, and it includes most of the forecasted starters.

But not Buster Posey.

The Giants' cleanup-hitting catcher won't play on Saturday and might not make his Cactus League debut until the middle of next week, Bochy said. Trainers and club officials agreed that Posey's reconstructed left ankle needs more time, especially when it comes to sliding and baserunning.

"At this point, we feel he's better off (not playing)," Bochy said. "Could he go back there and catch? Yeah. But we want to make sure he's ready. We want to be 100 percent sure."

As recently as two days ago, Bochy had left open the possibility that Posey could start the opener. But he said he knew all along that the more realistic possibility would be to have his 2010 Rookie of the Year ready "by the second week or the back end of the first week" of exhibition games.

"We've been here 10 days, and you may think that's a long time," Bochy said. "But when a guy hasn't played in four, five months or longer, it takes time. But I will say this: He's real close. If we wanted to force the issue, we could."

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Posey hasn't tried any sliding drills yet. He ran bases a few weeks ago and said his ankle has been stiff and sore when introduced to new tests. But he is pleased with the progression and said he anticipates being game ready soon.

"I'm feeling great and everything is going well," Posey said. "We're sticking to the course and I don't think it'll be long before I get into games here."

Posey said he didn't see sliding as a major issue. He acknowledged the baserunning concern, though.

"That's definitely been the toughest thing so far, but there's been a lot of improvement," he said. "Any time I'm challenging my ankle to do something different, it responds better and better each time I do it. ... The first time I caught, there was stiffness. It for better each time I caught. We knew running bases would be one of the last things to do."

The first lineup of the spring often is chock full of hints as to which players are considered the ones to beat out for jobs. So it's telling that Aubrey Huff, and not Brandon Belt, will start at first base on Saturday, Bochy said.

Bochy plans to play Mike Fontenot at second base, Brandon Crawford at short, Pablo Sandoval at third, Melky Cabrera in left field, Angel Pagan in center and Nate Schierholtz in right. Chris Stewart will start at catcher; he'll receive Tim Lincecum, who is expected to throw just one inning.

Is Posey disappointed he won't be able to join his mates?

"There's no disappointment at all," Posey said. "Spring training is about being ready for the season. If I wasn't ready for the opener of the regular season, I'd be disappointed."

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

Dodgers trade top pitching prospect to Rays for 2B Forsythe

The Dodgers' months-long search for a second baseman is over.

Los Angeles has acquired infielder Logan Forsythe from the Rays, the team announced Monday afternoon.

The Dodgers are sending top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay.

In 127 games for the Rays in 2016, the 30-year-old Forsythe hit .264/.333/.444 with 24 doubles, 20 home runs and 52 RBI.

Forsythe is set to make $7 million in 2017 and has a team option worth $8.5 million or a $1 million buyout for 2018.

De Leon, 24, made his major league debut for the Dodgers during the 2016 season. In four starts, he posted a 6.35 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 17 innings. In 16 startts for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2016, De Leon registered a 2.61 ERA and struck out 111 batters in just 86.1 innings.

A native of Puerto Rico, De Leon was recently ranked as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect Baseball America.

For most of the offseason, the Dodgers had been linked to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, but the two sides couldn't come together on a deal.

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

Spring training to be slightly shortened starting in 2018

NEW YORK -- For everyone who thinks spring training is too long, help is on the way - a little, anyway.

Spring training will be shortened by two days starting in 2018, when new restrictions in Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement take effect on game times for regular-season getaway days.

The voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players will be 43 days before the major league opener instead of 45, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press. For other players, the date will be 38 days ahead instead of 40.

The change was tied to spreading each team's 162 regular-season games over 187 days, up from 183.

Players' association Assistant General Counsel Matt Nussbaum said the union's goal was to create more days off during the season "in a way that doesn't just chew up offseason days."

"We have heard for years and I'm sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner's office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games," he said Monday.

Late arrival times ahead of regular-season series openers also were addressed.

Starting in 2018, the latest possible start time on getaway days when either team is traveling to a game in another city the next day or a home off day will be calculated by subtracting the time of the flight over 2½ hours from 7 p.m.

There are cutouts for Sunday night games broadcast by ESPN and games after June 1 at Texas' current home ballpark - where the Rangers avoid afternoons for much of the season because of the heat.

Another new rule for 2018 says no game in the original schedule may be set for before 5 p.m. when a team played the previous night in another city starting 7 p.m. or later. There are exceptions involving flights of 90 minutes or less for home openers and holiday weekends. Current cutouts are carried over for up to six exceptions each season at Chicago's Wrigley Field and rescheduled games involving flights of 90 minutes or less.

"We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we're always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them," MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said.

Sunday night games on holiday weekends followed by afternoon games still seem likely to occur.

"We have contracts with various national broadcast partners that limit our ability to schedule day games in certain instances," Halem said.

Nussbaum said if the players had their way, there would be "a flat rule that says all getaway games are day games" but understand why that would cause difficulty for teams.

"There's still going to be some challenges in the schedule," he said, "but we think what we've done with these two prongs is pare back the most egregious of the travel."

As part of the agreement, one game in the major leagues may be scheduled each year on the Thursday after the All-Star Game starting in 2018.