Giants

Posey won't play in spring opener

676082.jpg

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."

RELATED: New Giants reliever Hensley had different view of Posey collision

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."

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."