Buster Posey intends to keep playing despite knowing he needs hip surgery

Buster Posey intends to keep playing despite knowing he needs hip surgery

NEW YORK — The Giants haven’t given up on this season yet, despite what the standings tell them every morning. When they do raise the white flag, putting players through waivers won’t be the biggest decision they make.

Catcher Buster Posey will have season-ending surgery on his right hip at some point. Posey admitted Tuesday night that he has known for months that he would need surgery. The discussion right now is centered around timing. Posey intends to keep playing a bit longer, and he will start behind the plate Wednesday. 

The San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report Posey would have surgery to repair his labrum and clean out bone spurs. Posey said he has had continued dialogue with the training staff and front office about when to shut it down for the year. 

“We’re trying to make the decision that makes sense,” he said. 

The Giants have lost five of six and are eight games out of first with 35 to play. Doesn’t this seem like the time to do it?

“We’ll just evaluate and and continue to evaluate between myself, (Dave Groeschner), and the front office, and make the decision collaboratively,” Posey replied. “We’ll take it day by day.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said he has been told that Posey cannot do further damage by continuing to play, and both manager and catcher said they are confident Posey will be ready for opening day next season, even if he waits a few more games before having surgery.

Posey, 31, has been dealing with hip discomfort throughout the season and skipped the All-Star Game to get a cortisone injection. The treatment did not lead to an increase in his numbers. He has not homered since the injection and has just three extra-base hits in 92 second-half at-bats. Overall, Posey, with an inability to use his lower half to drive the ball, is slugging just .386, the lowest mark of his career. He has five homers and just 40 RBI, and his .747 OPS is his lowest in a full season by 50 points. 

“You guys have seen him. He’s been battling this all year,” Bochy said. “He’s been a warrior through this, dealing with it, but sometimes it comes to a point where we have to do something about it.”

The Giants entered play Tuesday 7 1/2 games out of first in the National League West and five games out of third place. They lost 6-3 to the Mets. With less than six weeks of baseball remaining, this is a borderline impossible climb, but the franchise has not thrown in the towel yet, in part because the schedule is still soft. The Rangers and Mets visit AT&T Park to close out the month, and the Giants will host the first-place Diamondbacks with one last shot to put a dent in the deficit. 

Decisions could be made quickly depending on the team’s situation, but on Tuesday it was still mostly business as usual. After the Reds series, Andrew McCutchen was put on waivers, but a source said no trade was imminent. The front office expects to put others through waivers over the next week, although that is mostly considered standard operating procedure this time of year.

Giants to hire former Red Sox exec Brian Bannister as director of pitching

Giants to hire former Red Sox exec Brian Bannister as director of pitching

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have quietly spent most of the past month putting a staff together, one they expect to announce in the coming days. One new addition won't be working in a traditional dugout role, but still is expected to make a huge impact on the next generation of Giants pitchers. 

Brian Bannister, a former big leaguer who spent the previous five seasons with the Red Sox, will join the Giants as director of pitching, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned.

While it's unclear what Bannister's exact duties will be, his background is in development and the fact that he's joining the Giants but not as their pitching coach would seem to indicate he'll mostly be working with younger pitchers. 

Bannister has been a rising star in baseball circles since joining the Red Sox in 2015. He became their assistant pitching coach a year later and a few months after that added the title of vice president of pitching development. According to NBC Sports Boston, Bannister had an unusual contract that allowed the Red Sox to deny interview requests from other organizations that wanted to make Bannister a pitching coach, something they did repeatedly. In that story, Bannister explained his role and what he liked about it. 

“I think I’m kind of in that sweet spot right now where I know what our needs are, and I have the opportunity to work with staff at all levels of the organization to try to produce pitchers at a faster rate to keep that major league product winning on the field,” Bannister said. “I’ll be scouting one day, I’ll be in player development the next day. I’ll be in the front office working in analytics on Day 3. And the diversity of the role and the exposure to every aspect of the organization is what’s so appealing.

"Because you really start to see on an interdepartmental basis, how each person positively impacts the Boston Red Sox. And then figuring out ways to fill in the gaps. How to get the players from amateur scouting, through player development as efficiently as possible, and prepare them with exactly what they need for the major league staff. That part’s fascinating. I definitely enjoy the exposure to everything and trying to add value to everything. And that’s probably where my role is unique.”

The Giants have been looking to put together a unique staff, one that can focus on development of younger players in Kapler's first year. In that respect, Bannister fits perfectly, but he also has the playing experience that carries so much weight with players who prefer traditional methods. 

Bannister finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 after putting up a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts for the Royals. That was the highlight of his professional career, as he finished with a 5.08 ERA in five big league seasons.

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A USC grad, Bannister is coming home in multiple ways. He lives in the Bay Area and was born in Scottsdale, where he later starred at Chaparral High, which is about a 20-minute drive from Scottsdale Stadium. When Fox Sports first reported that Bannister would be headed to San Francisco, he thanked his previous organization. 

The Giants are expected to announce some staffing decisions over the coming week. The only known member of Kapler's staff thus far is previous third base coach Ron Wotus.

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner prefers to stay with Giants

MLB rumors: Free agent Madison Bumgarner prefers to stay with Giants

Madison Bumgarner stepped to the plate against longtime Dodgers rival and friend Clayton Kershaw at Oracle Park on Sept. 29, 2019. The pitcher who rakes pinch-hit for shortstop Brandon Crawford in the seventh inning of Game 162, and lined out on a 3-2 fastball to third baseman Jedd Gyorko.

The day belonged to manager Bruce Bochy in his last game as the team's skipper. It very well might have been goodbye for a longtime ace and franchise hero, too. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday that Bumgarner, who is a free agent for the first time this offseason, prefers to continue his career with the Giants but the team has "shown no inclination to keep him." 

After free-agent pitcher Zack Wheeler reportedly agreed to a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies on Wednesday, it became clear Bumgarner very well could sign a nine-figure contract this offseason. That doesn't seem to fit into the rebuilding Giants' plans. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said late last month that San Francisco has "financial flexibility" but that doesn't mean he and general manager Scott Harris are going to throw huge contracts at veteran players. In fact, Zaidi seems focused on the opposite of that this offseason. 

"We need to be careful given our recent history about creating too many long-term commitments that can get us back in the jam that we very recently put ourselves in," Zaidi told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the "TK Show."

Nightengale also reported Wednesday that the Giants were interested in free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels before he signed with the Braves. Though San Francisco wants to get younger, Hamels' one-year, $18 million contract is much more in line with their plan. 

Bumgarner likely is looking for a four- or five-year contract on the open market. With veterans Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija still on the team's books, and young arms next in line, the Giants don't seem too inclined to sign a pitcher to a hefty, long-term contract. 

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MadBum debuted with the Giants in September 2009, and has spent his entire career in San Francisco. He is a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and three-time World Series champion. His real impact, however, came in the playoffs. 

The lefty is regarded by many as the greatest postseason pitcher of all time. He is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 16 playoff appearances, and is a perfect 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in five World Series games.

Relish the memories, Giants fans. Bumgarner's days of walking to the mound in San Francisco with the Marshall Tucker Band's "Fire on the Mountain" playing in the background, might be over.