Giants

Posey might work hard in All-Star debut, Hembree update, etc.

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Posey might work hard in All-Star debut, Hembree update, etc.

PITTSBURGH Chooch and Buster.

It sounds like a copbasset hound buddy movie. Or maybe thatplace where you forgot to redeem your skee-ball tickets.

Instead, its the catching corps, as it currently stands,for the National League All-Star squad.

The Cardinals Yadier Molina will not attend the game due toa death in his wifes family, and NL manager Tony LaRussa replaced him withoutfielder Matt Holliday. So unless another catcher is added, itll be up toBuster Posey and the Phillies Carlos Chooch Ruiz to go the distance.

BAGGARLY: Bochy plans Giants' rotation order following the break

It also could alter La Russas plan to name a startingpitcher. It was beginning to look like La Russa would go with Poseys Giants teammate,Matt Cain, and save knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to work with Molina. Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy was certainly in favor of that plan, citing the advantageof starting the game with a battery that has great familiarity.

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In other pregame news, Bochy is staying with outfielderJustin Christian against a left-handed starter for the second consecutive day.Erik Bedard isnt as tough on lefties as Thursdays starter, the NationalsRoss Detwiler, but Bochy was impressed when Christian collected three hits andstole a base.

Bochy didnt shy away when asked of Christian could become afixture against left-handed pitching. (Read: platoon partner for Gregor Blanco.)

The way he played (Thursday), he kind of forces that issue,Bochy said.

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Top prospect Heath Hembree's MRI confirmed the diagnosis of a flexor strain nearhis right elbow. Hembree will rest for 10 days to two weeks and be reevaluated, Giants vice president Bobby Evans said.

BAGGARLY: Casilla out with blister issue, but gets vote of confidence

All in all, positive news.

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It isnt much cooler in Pittsburgh than it was in Washington.Temps are in the low 90s and its humid. The Pirates took batting practiceindoors. The Giants moved up their time, and Bochy was getting annoyed that somany players were getting extra work instead of saving their energy.

Blanco, especially, has been taking a ton of swings whiletrying to dig out of an extended soft streak. Bochy also ordered Christianindoors after finishing his round in the cage.

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Bochy had a Bochyism when asked if managing the All-StarGame is more trouble than its worth.

No, he said. Id love to manage it every year.

That means winning the pennant every year, obviously.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."