Posey, Crawford fired up as they leave for World Baseball Classic

Posey, Crawford fired up as they leave for World Baseball Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey committed early to this year’s World Baseball Classic, and he has spoken often of how much it will mean to represent his country and try to grow the game. Over three weeks in big league camp, he found another reason to be excited about Monday's flight out of Arizona. 

“I’m ready to get there. I’m tired of answering questions from my fellow teammates on when I’m leaving,” he said, smiling. “I don’t have to say ‘Monday, March 6’ anymore.”

The day has finally come for Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford to take off. They were originally supposed to be joined by Johnny Cueto, but the right-hander will skip at least the first round because of a late arrival to camp. Cueto is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on March 11; the Dominican Republic begins pool play March 9.

Posey and Crawford will be in action a day later when Team USA takes on Columbia. Both Giants will start and they should carry a heavy load. They’ve been counting down the days to the tournament. Asked if he was excited about this week’s games, Crawford said, “I was excited about it when I got invited.”

The two changed their spring routines to get ready for the tournament, but Posey was nearly derailed. He missed time last week with a stiff neck, an ailment he termed “old man neck.”

“It’s feeling young again,” he said.

That has been apparent on the field. Posey found his swing in recent days, and he had two hits in his final tuneup, including a two-run single the opposite way. 

“I feel pretty good right now,” he said.

Crawford would normally ease into the spring, and in past years he has taken time to rest his throwing arm. He has had a healthy spring, allowing for 17 at-bats prior to his departure. But he only has three hits. 

“I feel close, I just haven’t been making hard contact,” he said. “I’ve been saving (the hits) for the tournament.”

Asked if he has talked much with other members of his WBC lineup, Crawford smiled. He pointed out that Eric Hosmer was at first base for the Royals on Sunday.

“I would’ve talked (to future teammates) if I could have gotten on base,” he joked. 

Crawford will team with Nolan Arenado to form a frightening defensive duo. Posey will have a more complicated transition to make, leading a staff of strangers, one that includes Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, Toronto’s Marcus Stroman and Cleveland’s Andrew Miller. Posey admitted there’s not much he can do to try and prepare for pitchers he hasn’t caught before. 

“I’ll try to talk to them a little bit the next couple of days, maybe watch some film when we’re there,” he said. “But it’s tough. You’ve just got to rely on your instincts.”

Posey’s instincts behind the plate are as good as it gets. That’s one reason why Bochy is confident in a United States team that hasn’t lived up to past expectations. 

“I think Buster’s experience and his ability to figure out how to win big games, that can make a difference,” Bochy said. 

Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's


Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner's broken left wrist is expected to heal without surgery, according to Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts.

Turner was hurt Monday when hit by a pitch from Oakland's Kendall Graveman.

Turner arrived at the Dodgers spring training facility with a cast over his wrist Tuesday morning and was scheduled to see a hand specialist for an estimate of the time he could miss.

"We know that it's not a surgery thing, it's just essentially time," Roberts said. "That's the initial thought. That could change but that's what I've heard."

Turner hit .322 with 21 homers and 71 RBIs last year and was a first-time All-Star. He had 14 RBIs against the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series and was voted MVP.

The Dodgers appear poised to move Logan Forsythe from second base to third in Turner's absence and have Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley share time at second.

"It obviously makes a lot of sense to have Logan over there a lot more at third, and to kind of put together some guys at second base, and leave Chris (Taylor) in center field," Roberts said.

Backup catcher Austin Barnes also could see time at second base.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.