Giants fans got the confirmation Thursday morning that they’ve been waiting for since last May.
Buster Posey will play in a Giants uniform on Friday against the Reds.
“The plan is to catch a couple innings tomorrow,” Posey told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday morning. “I’m excited.”
He’s not the only one.
Posey ran the basepaths and noticed significant improvement.
When asked by a reporter to give a percentage of how hard he was running, Posey replied with a question of his own.
“How hard do you think I was running?” he asked with a smile.
When Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman said about 80 percent, Posey replied: “I guess Henry doesn’t think I have much left in the tank.”
All joking aside, Posey said he was running at about 60-70 percent effort after running on the outfield cut of the grass on Monday. He’s expected to run bases again Thursday.
“I’m happy I’ve been able to do baseball activities,” Posey said. “We knew from the time I was injured (last May) that bases would be the last thing to come. We’ve been lucky everything has gone smoothly as it has.”
Freddy Sanchez also is expected to make his spring debut Friday, as the designated hitter.
Sanchez, who had shoulder surgery last August, practiced throwing across his body from second base for the first time Wednesday. But the Giants will continue to take a conservative approach with him.
Both Posey and Sanchez hit live batting practice against Brian Wilson on Wednesday.
Wilson, who is coming off elbow troubles last year, declared himself ready to go.
“I’m totally ready ready, and now I have three days to prepare myself.”
Wilson will make his spring debut Sunday or Monday.
Good news for Giants reliever Runzler
The last thing Dan Runzler wanted to do this spring was take a flight to Florida to see Dr. James Andrews.
But the report from the doctor was good, and the left-hander could be back pitching in games by mid-to-late April.
Runzler took his lat muscle in the regular-season finale. He had been healthy this spring until he felt something grab in his shoulder during a bullpen session late last week.
But Andrews said that Runzler only aggravated the injury and would not require surgery.
“It definitely put my head at ease,” Runzler told CSNBayArea.com. “He compared the MRIs before and after and said it was just a small aggravation. It’s not like I re-did it. He was very optimistic.”
Runzler said he should be game ready in four to six weeks.
That will take him out of the running for the final bullpen spot, expected to go to Clay Hensley.
Runzler expects to open the season in extended spring training. Then, he’ll likely head to Fresno
The Giants received some encouraging news on some of their ailing or rehabbing stars. We may see all (or at least most) of the Giants in a spring training game by the end of the week.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey really wanted to be ready to for last Saturday’s spring opener. He was close, but the Giants took the conservative road and held him out. Manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Posey worked on his running and sliding on Monday. He is scheduled to start running full speed on the bases Tuesday to make sure his surgically-repaired ankle can hold up to making turns on the bases. If everything goes well, Posey could make his spring debut as a DH on Friday against the Reds. Bochy said he could even catch an inning or two.
FREDDY SANCHEZ: The second baseman coming off shoulder surgery may have already been in games as a DH if he did suffer back spasms early last week. That spring debut could come Thursday or Friday for Sanchez. Bochy said he’s not ready to get Sanchez in the game as a second baseman, but he’s more willing to get his bat into game situations.
BRIAN WILSON: The Beard pronounced himself ready to go after throwing batting practice on Sunday. Bochy said Wilson will make his spring debut on Sunday, after throwing another BP session on Wednesday. Wilson is recovering from elbow inflammation that cost him most of the final two months of 2011.
DAN RUNZLER: Runzler was sent to see Dr. James Andrews for a consultation on his strained shoulder on Sunday. We haven’t heard anything since. And in this case, no news is bad news. A lat strain could sideline Runzler six weeks. He needed a strong spring to make the roster. That won’t happen now.
MoreSplashHits is launching something new today, providing a roundup of each day’s news from Giants spring training with links and commentary.
Monday’s news focused on pitchers providing optimistic reports (are there any other kinds of reports in late February?), including Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Dan Runzler and Ryan Vogelsong.
We’ll start with The Beard.
WILSON: Wilson admitted earlier this spring that he pitched through pain through most of 2011. It started early in spring training with a hip injury that eventually lead to the Giants closer opening the season on the disabled list. It ended with Wilson’s season effectively ending in mid-August with elbow problems.
So the Giants are taking a conservative approach this spring with Wilson. He’s not scheduled to pitch in a spring training game until at least March 11. But Wilson says that won’t keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 6.
“If there’s a save opportunity on Opening Day, I’ll be saving the game,” Wilson declared Monday.
For more on The Beard, check out Andrew Baggarly’s report on CSNBayArea.com.
LINCECUM: The Freak faced hitters for the first time this spring and rated the workout an 8.5 out of 10. Lincecum did not allow a ball to leave the infield while facing prospects Connor Gillaspie, Justin Christian, Andrew Sugac and Francisco Peguero. Bochy said Lincecum is on pace to pitch the Giants spring opener on Saturday.
RUNZLER: The left-handers has come to camp looking to tap into the potential the Giants were excited about since making a rapid rise through the ranks in 2009.
But injury and an inability to consistently throw strikes have hurt Runzler’s development. He dislocated his knee while swinging and missing during his first major league at-bat in 2010. The Giants dabbled with the idea of converting Runzler into a starting pitcher in 2011, but that idea appears to have been scrubbed. Finally, Runzler pulled a lat muscle in last season’s final game.
Now, he’s facing long odds of making the opening day roster, but is still working toward that goal. For more, see Baggarly’s report.
THIS AND THAT
- Ryan Vogelsong, whose start to camp has been delayed by a back issue, threw from flat ground Monday and felt “really, really good.” He may throw again Tuesday.
- 2B Freddy Sanchez developed lower back stiffness Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a “hiccup.” But any hiccup with Sanchez this spring will cause Giants fans to hold THEIR breath.
- C Buster Posey, who looks good in facing live pitching in batting practice for the first time over the weekend, got Monday off. All part of his spring rehab plan.
Spring training has begun, as pitchers and catchers for the WORLD CHAMPION SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS reported to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday.
Here are the highlights from Monday’s reports from Arizona:
SAY WHAT?!? The Giants have yet to hold their first spring workout, and manager Bruce Bochy is already working on the psychology.
Bochy proclaimed that the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat in the National League because they have the best starting rotation in the league.
“You look at the track record, and you have to say the Phillie have the best staff in the league,” Bochy said. “The road to the World Series will have to go through Philadelphia.”
With the Phillies adding Cliff Lee to a rotation that already had Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the statement is logical. The road to the NL pennant has gone through Philly the past three seasons. So why would adding Cliff Lee to the mix alter that.
Still, it’s not what most Giants fans want to hear on the FIRST DAY of spring training.
It’s kind of like going to a party and announcing to the room that Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker is the hottest woman in America … while your wife is standing next to you sporting a new outfit and haircut.
The validity of the remark won’t necessarily keep you from sleeping on the sofa.
Many Giants fans are still living the dream of the 2010 season and might not be ready to wake up to the reality of the 2011 season. But as manager, Bochy needs to go work on 2011 and he clearly wants to keep his players to put themselves in the underdog frame of mind that worked so well for them last season.
BULLPEN BATTLE: The competition for the final spot in the bullpen took an interesting turn over the weekend.
The reported minor-league deal the Giants worked out with veteran pitcher Elmer Dessens fell through. Instead, the Giants signed a minor-league deal with Brian Lawrence, who won 50 games for the Padres before shoulder problems derailed his career. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2007, but put up solid numbers for the Marlins’ Triple-A team last season and could open the season in Fresno, adding some organizational depth.
Dan Runzler, who the Giants had thought about converting into a starter, will be groomed for long relief this season. Or at least, that’s the plan for now. “That’s doesn’t mean we’re locked into that,” Bochy said.
What it does mean is that Runzler, Jeff Suppan and Guillermo Mota will be competing for the long relief spot in the bullpen this spring. MoreSplashHits still has doubts about Suppan. Under his deal, if Suppan breaks camp with the big club, he’ll earned $1 million in 2011. It just doesn’t make sense to pay a long reliever $1 milllion.
MORE HINSHAW: LH Alex Hinshaw reported to camp 20 pounds heavier in an effort to maintain his strength through the season. Hinshaw sported a 3.40 ERA in 48 appearances with the Giants in 2008, but only made nine appearances in 2009 and none in 2010.
The last we heard of Hinshaw came in a report that the Giants were looking to sell his contract to a Japanese team.
MoreSplashHits’ first reaction to the news of Hinshaw’s offseason was “Good for Alex.” But then we thought about the idea of a 28-year-old journeyman reliever who hasn’t pitched in the majors in two years adding 20 pounds in the offseason, and it made us cringe.