© Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Thus far in Spring Training we’ve seen Joe Panik bat leadoff, Brandon Belt begin to make up for the time he missed last season, Steven Duggar patrol centerfield, and Ty Blach and Chris Stratton solidify their cases for spots in the San Francisco Giants’ rotation.
But Buster Posey is almost nowhere to be found.
The 30-year-old catcher hasn’t seen the same amount of playing time he’s become accustomed to in past Spring Trainings. With only 18 Cactus League games separating the Giants from Opening Day, Duane Kuiper told Murph & Mac on Wednesday morning it will be more important for Posey to see time behind the plate than at the plate before the end of Spring Training.
“The older the guys are the better they are at knowing how long it’ll take for them to get ready,” Kuiper said. “For a guy like Buster, I’m sure the thing he’s concerned about the most is being in the squat and making sure his legs are in shape for doing that.”
Before Wednesday’s matchup against the San Diego Padres, Posey appeared in one Spring Training game, where he went 1-2 in two plate appearances and caught two innings.
Shortly after, it was reported that Posey was experiencing discomfort in his left ankle, especially when hitting. Although Bochy said he wouldn’t play his catcher after the team’s day off on Tuesday, Posey didn’t start against the Padres on Wednesday.
Once Posey is back in action, it will be paramount for him to spend as much time behind the plate as possible. Although it will be important for him to get a good amount of at-bats before Opening Day, Kuiper is confident that Posey knows what it takes to find his swing.
“It won’t take him very long,” Kuiper said. “He could probably throw out good at-bats after three days of batting practice.”
Aside from his ankle, Bochy’s slow-play mindset this spring is also playing a role in Posey’s limited time on the field. Given the rising age of their roster, the Giants are choosing to ease a few of their veteran players into Spring Training with the hope that it’ll keep them fresh for the start of the regular season.
“I walked in on Saturday morning and he was coming out of the equipment room and I basically asked him, ‘are you getting bored?'” Kuiper said. “Bored probably isn’t the right answer, but if you’re not playing and you’re used to playing all the time it can get boring. He kind of agreed and it’s unusual to not play a lot this early, but this slow-play thing that Bruce Bochy threw out this year is something he, the manager, is taking very serious.”
To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and skip to 2:14 for Kuiper on Posey.