The good news for Curt Casali is that the Giants have a pitching staff filled with former Cincinnati Reds teammates, so he came in with a leg up. The bad news is Casali is falling behind when it comes to learning the rest of the staff.
Casali had hamate surgery on his left hand in mid-December and is limited at the start of camp, but he said Saturday that he's playing catch and taking swings in the cage with no pain. Casali expects to start catching bullpen sessions soon and isn't concerned about having enough time to get ready for the April 1 opener in Seattle.
"Fortunately spring training is long enough as it is, so there's not a real rush to get back into games," he said during Giants FanFest on KNBR. "I feel like I have plenty of time to get myself up to playing speed and get ready for opening day."
Casali said he got hurt in the postseason with the Reds. He tried rehab, but as he started to talk to the Giants about a one-year contract, the recommendation was that he should have surgery. Their trainers and doctors were in contact with Casali throughout the process, and a couple of weeks after he went under the knife the Giants announced his $1.5 million deal, which had been reached via a verbal agreement before the procedure. The contract includes a $500,000 bonus for making the opening day roster and Casali said that was related to the health concerns at the time of the agreement.
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Casali was signed to back up Buster Posey and allow Joey Bart to start the season as the everyday starter in Triple-A, getting necessary reps. If Casali does end up missing time, the Giants are well covered. Last year's backup catcher, Chadwick Tromp, also is on the 40-man roster.
Casali said he's keeping up to date at the start of camp by watching up-close videos the Giants shoot of every bullpen session, as well as studying Rapsodo and Edgertronic data. He's also leaning on Posey and the pitching coaches and said he'll play catchup as fast as he can.
"That's definitely going to be a challenge," he said. "Fortunately this organization has a lot of technology at its disposal."