The Maturation of Buster

The Maturation of Buster

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. When Buster Posey made his big-league debut with the Giants late last season, he looked every bit the wide-eyed rookie.Hes still a rookie, technically, but wide-eyed hes not. Hes not exactly baby-faced anymore, either. Young Buster did some serious growing up over the winter.Last fall he looked like hed won some sort of Hang with the Giants contest at a local high school. Fresh off a season that made him the Minor League Player of the Year, he roamed the Giants clubhouse and dugout trying not to look a little awed.On Thursday, the first day of actual structured workouts at Scottsdale Stadium, Posey walked not timidly but with a purpose, a confidence, an almost imperceptible swagger.Being named the Minor League Player of the Year will do that for a fella. Posey didnt just live up to expectations in 2009. He crushed them by crushing the ball the way everybody in the organization hoped he would.Oddly enough, though, Poseys success -- and, of course, Bengie Molinas unexpected return -- has created an nice little drama that will play out over the next six weeks in the desert.Bengie is the starting catcher, no question about it, and conventional wisdom suggests that Posey, long touted the Catcher of the Future by the Giants, needs to be behind the plate every day somewhere at this stage in his career. That means a ticket to Triple-A Fresno, right?Not so fast. This is a team, remember, that needs all the offense it can get. What happens if Posey is the best hitter on the team down here? You cant send the reigning Minor League Player of the Year back to the minors after he hits .420 at big-league camp, can you?Probably not, and thats why the Giants plan to bounce Posey around the infield a little bit this spring. He was a stud shortstop as a freshman in college before Florida State turned him into a catcher, so theres little doubt hell be able to transition back, and Travis Ishikawas toe injury surely means Posey will get some reps at first base.Asked about playing on the infield Thursday, Posey said hes down for whatever, but he also made it clear that he prefers catching above all else.For 2010, though, he might not have a choice. If his bat plays, as scouts like to say, at this level, the Giants need Buster to play -- somewhere, anywhere -- with them. --Mychael Urban
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Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant out of the Warriors lineup Saturday night with swelling in his left pinky finger, rookie wing Pat McCaw will start at forward against Brooklyn at Oracle Arena.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement two hours before tipoff.

As for Durant, the contusion in his left pinky finger, sustained Thursday, is still in the healing process.

“Kevin’s hand is still a little swollen,” Kerr said. “It’s not anything we want to mess around with. We’ve got a long trip coming up, a lot of games. It made sense to give him the night off. We’ll have tomorrow off, flying in to Philadelphia. So hopefully the next couple days it’ll calm down and be fine. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The decision to start McCaw -- who often competes with Ian Clark for playing time -- was based mostly on how he matches up against the Nets.

“They both have my trust and my confidence,” Kerr said. “Both of them are very effective. It’s depending what we need. If we need ball movement and cutting, I’m more likely to go to Ian. He’s a great back-cutter and he gives our offense flow and he’ll make spot-up shots. If we need some size defensively, we’ll go to Patrick. They’ve both been effective. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead of the other. They’re both going to play.”

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

The San Jose Earthquakes concluded their 2017 preseason campaign with a 4-1 win against Sacramento Republic FC at Avaya Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Shea Salinas, Simon Dawkins, Jahmir Hyka and Danny Hoesen each scored for the Earthquakes in the victory to give San Jose a 6-1-2 record in preseason play.

In the 14th minute, Salinas gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage when he one-timed Tommy Thompson's cross into the back of the net. In the buildup to the goal, Nick Lima threw the ball in and found fellow Homegrown player Thompson on the right side of the six-yard box. With one touch, Thompson crossed the ball to Salinas who made no mistake with his finish.

Republic FC equalized the match in the 54th minute with a penalty from Sammy Ochoa after Anibal Godoy was called for a handball in the box.

The Earthquakes regained the lead in the 66th minute when Dawkins sent a powerful low shot into the bottom left corner of Sacramento's goal from the top of the 18-yard box after receiving a through pass from Darwin Ceren.

After entering the match at halftime, Hyka made the game 3-1 in the 79th minute, finishing Godoy's cross with one touch.

Hoesen concluded the scoring for the Quakes in first minute of stoppage time after he dribbled past the Sacramento defense and sent the ball across the goal into the bottom right corner to make the final score 4-1.

"It was good," said Quakes defender and second-ever Homegrown signing Nick Lima, who started Saturday. "It was obviously our first time in the preseason in the stadium. It was good to get out there with our starters and I think we finished the way we wanted to. There's obviously a lot of improvement that we need to do, but now we have a week just to focus on Montreal. That was the ultimate goal from the beginning of preseason to get ready for that game and I think we took a step in the right direction."

The Earthquakes will start the 2017 MLS Regular Season next Saturday, March 4, at 6:45 p.m. against the Montreal Impact.

Earthquakes media services.