PHOENIX -- The Giants will continue monitoring Buster Posey's health carefully, but that doesn't mean they'll treat him as though he's packed in an egg carton.Manager Bruce Bochy indicated on Thursday that Posey, who has recovered from the extensive injuries to his left leg he sustained last May 25, will start each game of the season-opening series against the D-backs. Bochy pointed out that Posey passed the requisite tests of stamina during the Cactus League season by catching consecutive games and working behind the plate for nine innings. "At this point we'll just check on him after games and see how he feels," Bochy said. "If he comes out of these games fine, we'll want him out there every game of this series." Posey could get a break or might move to first base on Monday, when rookie Hector Sanchez is expected to catch left-hander Barry Zito at Colorado.
Bochy yet to name starting second baseman
PHOENIX -- Manager Bruce Bochy refused to name his Opening Day second baseman on Thursday, preferring to inform the candidates involved before addressing the subject publicly.Based on Spring Training performance, Emmanuel Burriss (.288) probably would have the edge over Ryan Theriot (.190). But Theriot has thrived in limited appearances against right-hander Ian Kennedy, hitting .333 off the Arizona ace. Whoever plays second base likely will bat eighth, Bochy said. The first seven who will back starter Tim Lincecum are Angel Pagan, center field; Melky Cabrera, left field; Pablo Sandoval, third base; Buster Posey, catcher; Aubrey Huff, left field; Brandon Belt, first base; and Brandon Crawford, shortstop. Freddy Sanchez, who theoretically would keep both Burriss and Theriot on the bench if he returns to reasonably full health, played six innings at second base in a Minor League intrasquad game on Thursday. Bochy suggested that if Sanchez continues to progress, he could report to Triple-A Fresno on an injury rehab assignment as early as next week.
Crawford expected to be OK for opener
PHOENIX -- Shortstop Brandon Crawford confidently said, "I'll be ready to go" for Friday's season opener against Arizona, despite having sprained his left thumb during Monday's exhibition against the A's.Crawford will wear a pad around the thumb when he hits and a protective guard inside his glove when he's on defense. Manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw from Crawford offensively during the exhibition season, when the 25-year-old batted .333 with a .965 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). Crawford probably will bat seventh on Friday instead of in the eighth spot he was projected to occupy before Spring Training began. "He has been swinging well," Bochy said. "I think he has earned that."
Giants' bench filled with potential starters
PHOENIX -- When Spring Training began, the chances of Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff and Brett Pill making the Opening Day roster together appeared remote. Yet each of them managed to carve out a niche, though they were competing for the first-base spot.
Belt forced his way onto the club by batting a rousing .378 in exhibition games, Huff hit .297 while reaffirming that he could play adequately in left field and Pill established himself as a necessary right-handed presence by hitting three home runs and recording 12 RBIs."I don't know if I envisioned it, but I definitely thought it would be possible," Belt said on Thursday before the Giants held a brief workout at Chase Field. "I never really make plans. You never know what's going to happen. Just when you think you have things figured out, they throw you another curveball." With so many potential starters populating the bench, it has been speculated that virtually every regular must produce immediately. Manager Bruce Bochy hopes his players can avoid that mind-set.
"I don't want guys thinking they have to get a hit or two to stay in the lineup," Bochy said.Nevertheless, Bochy acknowledged that reserve outfielders Nate Schierholtz and Gregor Blanco could receive significant playing time. When Huff's playing left field, Schierholtz is likely to replace him in the late innings when the Giants are ahead (with Schierholtz occupying right field and Melky Cabrera moving to left). Bochy observed that Huff potentially can be effective even while playing six or seven innings.
"It worked for Pat Burrell," Bochy said, referring to the retired slugger's contributions during the 2010 championship season. "Pat had a great year for us. Aubrey can do the same."Bochy added that Blanco could join the lineup when the Giants need an offensive boost.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.