SAN FRANCISCO — As an irate Bryce Harper charged toward the mound, Buster Posey just stood and watched from behind home plate.
And when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants cleared their benches Monday and punches flew both ways, the All-Star catcher did his best to remain just outside the fray.
Not where some expected to find the Giants team leader with his pitcher, Hunter Strickland, exchanging head shots with Harper.
“Posey did NOTHING to stop Harper from getting to his pitcher,” former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis wrote on Twitter. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”
Posey declined to enter the fracas, instead remaining around its edges and watching as the players scuffled in “a pretty good pile,” as Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it.
Posey dealt with a concussion in April after being struck in the head by a pitch, but did not say he held back because of concerns related to that. He did say he was wary about the risk of injury.
“There were some big guys tumbling around out there,” Posey said. “You see Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball. So it was a little dangerous to get in there.”
Still, social media was abuzz at the sight of Posey not sticking up for his teammate.
“Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn’t even give a soft jog,” Willis wrote.
Strickland must have told @BusterPosey he was hitting him and let him come cause he didn't even give a soft jog 😂💯— Dontrelle Willis (@DTrainMLB) May 29, 2017
“Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn’t bother to hold back Harper,” tweeted Fox broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt . “Let him go get his pitcher.”
Says all you need to know that Buster Posey didn't bother to hold back Harper. Let him go get his pitcher.— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) May 29, 2017
Buster Posey: "Nah." pic.twitter.com/qf4oVFvVTi— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) May 29, 2017
Helluva job by Buster Posey to protect his pitcher! https://t.co/JJ5ejOMGgQ— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) May 29, 2017
I don't know what it means, but Buster Posey let the whole thing happen. Just watched until Harper got to the mound.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 29, 2017
Replay of Buster Posey's involvement... pic.twitter.com/wMlCjfSpLt— Mark Freeman (@mfreemantv) May 29, 2017
Also absent from the fight: hard-nosed Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.