SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Buster Posey must pass two baserunning tests, sliding and rounding the bag, before the Giants will allow him to appear in an exhibition game.That explained why manager Bruce Bochy said once and for all Thursday that Posey, who's recovering from extensive left leg injuries, won't play in Saturday's Cactus League opener against Arizona. Bochy had indicated that the Giants might give Posey an at-bat in the game, but amended that by saying that the catcher won't make his spring debut for "two, three, maybe four days." Bochy emphasized that Posey had not experienced any sort of physical setback.
"He's not quite ready [to play], but he's real close," Bochy said.
Echoed Posey, "I'd say that's very accurate. I'm feeling great and everything's going well. We're just kind of sticking to the course and I don't think it'll be long before I get in some games here."Posey admitted that rounding the bases, which he said he last tried about two weeks ago, was the most challenging activity on his ankle.
"But there's been a lot of improvement even with that in the past week and a half to two weeks," Posey said. "That's kind of the way I feel like my rehab has gone the whole time. Every time I challenge my ankle to do something different, it seems to respond better and better the more I do it."As for sliding, Posey said, "I don't see that being an issue." In that vein, Posey insisted that missing the Cactus League opener doesn't bother him.
"Spring Training is all about being ready for the regular-season opener," he said. "So if I wasn't ready for the regular-season opener, I'd be disappointed then. But there's no disappointment for not playing [Saturday]."
Lincecum makes final prep for spring debut
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum doubled up on his preparation Thursday, tuning up for his scheduled one-inning outing in the Giants' exhibition opener by throwing the equivalent of two innings in the bullpen.Lincecum rested in the middle of his throwing session, simulating a between-innings break.
"That gives more of a game-type of feel to it," said the right-hander, who will start Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who's entering his fifth full Major League season, sounded eager to begin Cactus League action.
"After that first live [batting-practice] session, you're ready to go against batters who aren't your teammates," he said.Manager Bruce Bochy gave Friday off to Lincecum and the remainder of the Giants squad, giving them a rest on the eve of the exhibition opener.
"Sometimes, less is more," Bochy said, pointing out that San Francisco won't have its lone scheduled off-day until March 19. Bochy also noted that the Giants have a road split-squad doubleheader Sunday.
Speed thrills in Giants' intrasquad game
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Demonstrating the Giants' stated intent to run the bases aggressively, a team managed by Shawon Dunston subdued a club managed by J.T. Snow in Thursday's 2 1/2-inning intrasquad game, 7-1.Emmanuel Burriss set the tone by hitting a weak grounder and hustling to first base, forcing pitcher Jake Dunning to cover the bag hastily. Burriss, who was safe as Dunning failed to step on the base, stole second base on the next pitch and advanced to third on a grounder to the left side that would have immobilized most runners. Later in the inning, Brandon Crawford attempted a steal, and Gregor Blanco briefly considered trying for an inside-the-park homer but stopped and settled for a two-run triple. "We have to be smart about it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the rededicated running effort. "Manny [Burriss] had the green light [to steal]. ... At the same time, you can't run into outs. But that's what you're talking about, making it easier to score runs." The most polished-looking hitter on either side was Brandon Belt, who lined RBI singles in each of his two plate appearances. Nevertheless, Bochy said that Aubrey Huff will start Saturday's exhibition opener against Arizona at first base, where a Huff-Belt-Brett Pill competition is looming.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.