Posey won't start blocking the plate in postseason, etc.


Posey won't start blocking the plate in postseason, etc.

SAN DIEGO Buster Poseys voice remained raspy one dayafter taking a ball off his throat, but hes in the lineup to catch MadisonBumgarner Saturday night at Petco Park.

Why is Posey killing himself down the stretch when theGiants have clinched already?

Why am I killing myself? Posey said, smiling. I'm notdoing it on purpose.

There is no questioning Poseys toughness after he shook offa pregame stomach ailment, remained in the game following the scary ball offhis larynx, caught all nine innings and also hustled on two extra-base hits towiden his lead in the NL batting race.

But when it comes to plays at the plate, Posey isntbudging. Asked if he would position himself less conservatively in theplayoffs, even blocking the dish when necessary, the probable NL MVP said hewouldnt change what hes done in the regular season.

I dont think you change something youve been doing allyear, Posey told me. Id say no.

And I didnt Ive never sat in front of the plate. Ididnt do that before I got hurt. So it wouldnt be normal for me to startdoing that, blocking like that.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is just fine with that, too.

We dont want to change anything about how we play the gamein the playoffs, Bochy told me. We want these guys to play the game hard andright, and Buster makes a great point. Hes got to do what is comfortable.

Even before his season-ending collision at the plate on May25 last season, Bochy had forbidden Posey from blocking the plate. It made nodifference that night against the Florida Marlins, when the throw from rightfield beat baserunner Scott Cousins to the plate and he delivered a targeted,shoulder-to-shoulder hit that bowled over Posey, fracturing his leg and rippingthree ankle ligaments.

RELATED: Posey loses voice but not ground in batting race

During the spring, Bochy and bullpen catcher Bill Hayesworked with Posey on positioning in fair territory and reaching back to makeswipe tags. Its something Posey did in the past, but he has been even moreconservative with his positioning this season. A handful of runs might havebeen prevented if Posey had set himself up nearer to the dish.

Its been an adjustment, and not so much on Busters partas much as for the rest of us, Bochy said. Sure, a couple times he said hegot distracted where he was and got out in front a little more. But we saw whatlife was like without him. Its risk vs. reward.

And you know, that play, you dont get a lot of em. Youcan practice it, but its still so hard to simulate a play like that.

They do happen, though and as J.T. Snow and PudgeRodriguez can attest, sometimes they happen with the outcome of a postseasonseries hanging in the balance. The Giants won 100 regular-season games in 2003only to get bounced in the first round when Rodriguez held onto the ball afterSnow plowed into him.

Backup catcher Hector Sanchez has saved more than a coupleof runs this season while blocking the plate, too.

None of this is to suggest that Posey is incapable ofplaying his position. In fact, just last week, he made a terrific pickup ofshortstop Brandon Crawfords relay throw and applied a deft tag.

The throw will take you from certain spots, Posey said. Themain thing is to stay light on your feet and try to be in the best position youcan.

Posey said other than his voice, he felt fine and saw noreason to sit out Saturdays game. Its his last opportunity to catch Bumgarnerbefore theyd work together in the postseason. (Game 2 remains the best guess.)

He said he was in discomfort for roughly three innings aftertaking the ball to the throat. He also showed that his sense of humor is inbetter shape than his voice.

Asked if he had any trouble breathing after the impact, hesmiled and said, I dont believe I wouldve stayed in if I couldnt breathe.

Xavier Nady is getting another start in left field against aleft-handed pitcher. Not only did he take some good swings Friday night anddemonstrate an improved hamstring while hitting his first triple since 2008,but he also made a nice catch on left field after going back aggressively onthe ball.

Happy birthday to Giants third base coach Tim Flannery. Idont know many 55-year-olds who can scamper down the line like he can.

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.