Tag:Buster Posey
Posted on: June 15, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 11:54 pm

Giants eyeing Rangers catchers

With Buster Posey out for the year, the Giants are still looking everywhere for catching.

The latest place they're looking: Texas, where the Rangers may be willing to move a catcher once Mike Napoli returns from the disabled list.

Yorvit Torrealba is the Rangers' starter behind the plate, and Napoli was his backup. With Napoli out, the Rangers have called up Taylor Teagarden, who has big-league experience and was hitting .326 with nine home runs in 24 games at Triple-A Round Rock. Teagarden is only a .216 hitter in 107 career games in the big leagues, but remember, there's very little catching available and the Giants need help.

With Posey out, the Giants have gone with an Eli Whiteside/Chris Stewart tandem behind the plate. In 19 games without Posey, Giants catchers have hit .180 with no home runs and just two RBI.

Napoli, who has a strained left oblique, went on the DL Sunday. The Rangers hope he'll be able to return in the minimum 15 days.

The Giants seem determined to find catching help somewhere. Besides the big leagues, they've sent scouts to watch any Triple-A team with a possible answer behind the plate.

Posted on: June 8, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 12:38 pm

Yet another 2008 draftee reaches majors

The Indians called up Cord Phelps Wednesday morning, which in itself isn't earth-shattering news, except for him and his family.

Phelps was being used at multiple positions at Triple-A Columbus, moving around so that the Indians could focus on top infield prospects Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. Phelps wasn't one of the Indians' very top prospects himself, not even landing in the top 10 on Baseball America's winter list. He was hitting .299 at Columbus, with an impressive 40 RBI, and he's in the big leagues because second baseman Orlando Cabrera and third baseman Jack Hannahan have been struggling of late.

He's in the Indians' lineup in Cabrera's place for Wednesday's afternoon game against the Twins, and reports out of Cleveland say he'll likely play second base with some regularity against right-handed pitchers.

He's also the first Indians player from the 2008 draft to make it to the big leagues, and that's what caught my attention, because that '08 draft is starting to shape up as one of baseball's best.

Think of the players from the '08 draft who are already established in the big leagues: Buster Posey, Craig Kimbrel, Gordon Beckham, Eric Hosmer, Brian Matusz, Ike Davis, Alex Avila, Daniel Hudson, Danny Espinosa, Justin Smoak, Brett Wallace, Andrew Cashner, Pedro Alvarez, Aaron Crow -- and there are more, including Brandon Crawford, the shortstop just called up by the Giants, Jemile Weeks, the second baseman just called up by the A's, and Brett Lawrie, the third baseman expected to be called up by the Blue Jays any day now.

The 2008 draft included Smoak, who was traded for Cliff Lee; Lawrie, who was traded for Shaun Marcum; and Jake Odorizzi, who was traded for Zack Greinke.

It also included Gerrit Cole, who didn't sign with the Yankees, and went on to become the top pick in this week's draft.

Not bad for one draft. It doesn't yet match the 2005 draft, when the first round included Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce. But give it time.

Phelps is also the third player from Stanford's 2008 team to reach the big leagues, joining Drew Storen and Jason Castro.

Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:32 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 9:42 pm

Selig: No 'significant changes' on plays at plate

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- In the two weeks since Buster Posey was hurt, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and others have made strong calls for rules changes on plays at the plate.

Monday night, commissioner Bud Selig said he doesn't expect the rules to be changed.

"We're glad to talk, glad to revisit," Selig said between picks of baseball's draft. "But I don't see any significant changes."

Selig said he has spoken about the play many times with Joe Torre, his new executive vice president. He said he understands the concerns the Giants have, and he praised the Giants for the statement they issued in response to general manager Brian Sabean's inflammatory comments last week.

"I appreciate the concern," Selig said. "I'm saddened by Buster Posey [getting hurt], or by anyone else."

Selig, who has pushed a (sometimes ignored) unofficial slotting system for draft-pick bonuses, said again Monday that he wants a hard-slotting system in the new Basic Agreement being negotiated this summer.

Asked if he's confident that baseball can get the players' union to agree to a hard-slotting system, the commissioner responded: "I'm confident that we need it."

Selig also called again for a worldwide draft.

Selig played down last week's Los Angeles Times report that nine teams are out of compliance with MLB's debt-service rules, saying it was not a concern because most of those teams were close to being in compliance.

For more draft coverage from CBSSports.com, click here
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 8:07 pm

Braves to McCann: Go ahead, block the plate

NEW YORK -- Like the Giants, the Braves have a catcher who bats cleanup. Like the Giants, the Braves have had trouble scoring runs and need that catcher in the lineup regularly.

But even with what happened to Buster Posey, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would want Brian McCann to block the plate to cut off a run.

"You can't worry," Gonzalez said Friday. "People have gotten hurt coming down the steps. I don't think you can tell an athlete, a competitor, 'Don't block the plate.'

"I want him to give us an opportunity to win the game, and if that's by blocking the plate, it's by blocking the plate. I couldn't bring myself to say that to Brian -- don't block the plate."

Gonzalez, the former Marlins manager, also defended Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins, saying he thought Cousins did nothing wrong in the play on which Posey was hurt.

"I've looked over the film," Gonzalez said. "I thought it was a clean play."

Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 9:11 pm

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

OK, we get it. The Giants are upset that they lost their young catcher and cleanup hitter.

No one who likes baseball should be happy that Buster Posey got hurt.

And yet the discussion about what to do about plays at the plate is one that is absolutely worth having. Some people say that we wouldn't be talking about it if this were Eli Whiteside instead of Buster Posey, but that's irrelevant, because this is something we should be talking about.

But it's time to talk about it calmly. It's time to get over the emotion of the moment.

That's what Joe Torre needed to remind Giants general manager Brian Sabean, after Sabean's radio tirade Thursday. And that, according to sources, is exactly what Torre was expected to tell Sabean, when they spoke Friday.

After Sabean spoke with Torre, in Torre's new role as baseball's executive vice president, the Giants issued a statement saying that their general manager had spoken out of frustration, and also that Sabean was trying to reach Cousins to speak with him.

The frustration is understandable. And Sabean is an emotional guy. Baseball could use more colorful GMs like him.

But baseball doesn't need GMs issuing veiled threats to players on other teams.

"If I never hear from [Scott] Cousins again, or he doesn't play another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy," Sabean said Thursday on KNBR, the Giants' flagship radio station.

He also said that the Giants will have a "long memory."

Meanwhile, according to Jim Bowden on Twitter, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison said Friday that Sabean's comments were "ignorant and inappropriate," and "immature and unprofessional," in an appearance on MLB Network Radio.

But it's not just Sabean. Earlier this week, while covering the Giants' series in St. Louis, New York Times writer Tyler Kepner suggested on Twitter that "spending two days around the Giants, I get the strong sense that I would not want to be Scott Cousins the next time those teams play."

Again, we get it. The Giants are upset. But focusing on how angry they are does them -- and us -- no good.

What we do need, over the next few months, is a reasoned discussion of the best way to protect catchers.

A few things to keep in mind:

-- Plays at the plate are totally different from plays at other bases. Tony La Russa compared it to plays at first base, but those are almost always force plays and plays at the plate (especially those involving collisions) almost never are. Others have compared it to plays at second base, but the second baseman or shortstop never stands in between the baserunner and the base.

-- If you want to totally eliminate collisions, you'd also need to totally bar catchers from blocking the plate (or even standing in the baseline in front of the plate). There seems little sentiment for that drastic a change.

-- Yes, Cousins could have avoided the collision. But even with many of the rules changes proposed, there's a real chance he wouldn't have been called out, because Posey was close enough for the plate for the runner to assume that the catcher would be in the way.

-- One reason Posey was hurt was that he put himself in the worst possible position -- on his knees.

-- Teaching catchers to make swipe tags and avoid collisions isn't really a solution, because that's exactly what the Giants taught Posey.

-- The real danger of blocking the plate may not be a horrific ankle injury like Posey's. As we learn more about concussions, you wonder if catchers blocking the plate in the traditional way (and falling backwards and potentially hitting their heads) are in even greater long-term danger.

-- The Giants have run into plenty of catchers themselves, most notably when J.T. Snow did it while making the last out of the 2003 Division Series against the Marlins. Of course, in that case, catcher Pudge Rodriguez had the ball, held onto it, and wasn't hurt.

It's a hugely complex issue. It's a discussion well worth having.

And, as much as possible, it's time to take all the heated emotions out of that discussion.

Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:09 am

3 to Watch: The King defends his crown edition

It's been a quiet start to the season for Felix Hernandez. Even the talk that he'll be traded seems to have died down, either because of the Mariners' continued strong denials, his own declarations of how happy he is in Seattle or the team's decent start to the season.

Meanwhile, as of now Hernandez isn't even in the top 10 in the American League ERA race. He leads the league in strikeouts and he's third in innings pitched, but if the Cy Young vote were held today, he'd barely receive a vote.

And none of that means he won't repeat his title.

Through 11 starts, Hernandez actually has better numbers than he did at this point last year. He's 5-4 with a 3.01 ERA, as compared to 2-4 with a 3.50 ERA through his first 11 starts of 2010.

Last year, the Mariners were held to one run or none in three of his first four losses. This year, they've been held to no runs, one run and two runs in three of his first four losses.

And that means this Saturday's start against the Yankees is King Felix's biggest of the year so far.

The strongest voices against Hernandez in last year's Cy debate weren't the ones complaining about his so-so 13-12 record. Rather, they were the ones complaining that he didn't pitch in important games, and pitched in the weak-hitting American League West.

The strongest counter-argument was Hernandez's record against the Yankees. He won all three of his starts against New York, allowing just one run on 16 hits in 26 innings.

As Felix defenders have said all along, the bigger the stage, the better he pitched.

The stage isn't huge this weekend, but the Yankees are the highest-scoring team in the American League. The Mariners are playing so well (and the division is so weak) that they're just 1 1/2 games out of first place.

It's a late-night Saturday start, but it's still the Yankees, and it still would be a great place for Hernandez to launch his reelection campaign.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Every day, it seems, I talk to another baseball person who mentions how unimpressive the Indians were in spring training, and how shocking it is that they still have the best record in baseball. But they do, and they even survived Grady Sizemore's latest trip to the disabled list, with Sizemore expected to return this weekend. Still, the doubters are going to doubt, and wonder if this is the week the Indians' collapse begins. Coming off two straight home losses to the Red Sox, they now get Tampa Bay's two best starters, beginning with David Price in Indians at Rays, Friday night (7:10 ET) at Tropicana Field. Josh Tomlin, who is 6-1 and has held opponents to a .182 batting average, starts for the Indians.

2. Even with Buster Posey, the Giants have scored the fewest runs in the National League. Even with Buster Posey, the Giants' margin of error has been slim, their first-place record built largely on a 14-5 record in one-run games. Now the Giants don't have Posey, and they go on the road to face a Brewers team that is finally healthy and has won six straight and 13 of 16. The good news for the Giants: They open the series with Tim Lincecum on the mound, in Giants at Brewers, Friday night (8:10 ET) at Miller Park. The bad news: The Brewers starter is Shawn Marcum, who has won his last six decisions.

3. Hernandez hasn't even been the most-talked-about starter in his own rotation, which he shares with 22-year-old Michael Pineda. Pineda looks great, and his start against the Yankees on Friday is worth watching, too. But Felix is still the King, and that puts Yankees at Mariners, Saturday night (10:10 ET) at Safeco Field on this list.

Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:10 am

Can Belt be this year's Buster Posey?

The Giants went through a stretch last May where they scored 35 runs in 13 games, and lost nine of them.

Soon after, they called up Buster Posey.

Now the Giants have scored 23 runs in their last 11 games, losing eight of them.

Any chance Brandon Belt can be this year's Buster Posey?

Some people in the organization are already asking that question, wondering whether Belt can return from Triple-A Fresno (where he's off to a torrid start) and provide the offensive jolt that Posey did last year.

Belt began the season as the Giants' first baseman, but only because Cody Ross was on the disabled list. He struggled at the plate (.192 in 17 games) and was sent down when Ross came off the DL, but even scouts who saw him during that time were impressed.

"He's got a chance to be a pretty good player," one scout said.

For now, Belt remains at Fresno, but he had four more hits Monday night (while the Giants were getting shut out in Washington for the second time in four games). In nine Triple-A games, Belt is hitting .517 with two home runs, 10 RBI and a ridiculous 1.484 OPS.

He's also playing the outfield, which means that bringing him back to the big leagues wouldn't mean forcing defensively-challenged Aubrey Huff back into right field.

Belt has played the outfield before, and one scout who saw him play there was impressed.

"He's got the instincts to play there," the scout said.

And the Giants seem to need an offensive spark.

"We're awful right now," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Monday night in Washington.

One reason they're awful: Left fielder Pat Burrell has now gone nine games since his last RBI.

The Giants weren't all that good last May, either. They got better, as we all remember, and Posey (who was called up May 29, and became the team's cleanup hitter by the middle of July) was a big part of the reason.

Now, the Giants need a jolt again.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 15, 2010 2:04 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 2:09 pm

Posey, Feliz top rookies

Giants catcher Buster Posey and Rangers closer Neftali Feliz are the Rookies of the Year, as announced today by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Posey won the National League award, beating out Braves outfielder Jason Heyward in a race that wasn't as close as expected. Posey received 20 of the 32 first-place votes. Heyward had nine, and the other three were divided between Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Feliz also received 20 first-place votes to win in the American League, with Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson getting the other eight. Because there are two voters from each city in the league, the NL has four more votes than the AL.

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