Giants’ Posey ready for WBC

March 6, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey in action during a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

By DANIEL DULLUM
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, March 5, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The World Baseball Classic starts Monday, and Giants catcher Buster Posey is on his way to Miami, Fla., to represent Team USA in the competition.

After Sunday’s Cactus League game against Kansas City, San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner hinted that he wouldn’t mind joining his batterymate.

“But I wasn’t asked,” Bumgarner said.

Informed of this, Posey paused and said, “Really? Hey, it’ll be fun. It’ll be a new experience. What’s nice for me at this point is that I get to see how this plays out.

“I’m ready to get there. I’m tired of answering questions from teammates about when I’m leaving!” he added. “I’m trying to zero in my swing right now, so it’s been difference in that sense. I’m trying to ramp it up a little bit more.

Posey said his swing feels “pretty good” in his 10 spring at-bats.

“Timing is always the biggest thing, and it’s been nice the last three days to play in consecutive at-bats. It definitely helps.”

Team USA has never made it past the semifinals in the WBC, and Posey said he’d like to help change that.

“Guys at this level aren’t going to go out and play just to play,” Posey said. “You’re playing to win, and we have a lot of confidence.”

Posey is one of three Giants participating in the WBC. The others are shortstop Brandon Crawford (USA) and right-hander Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic).

BUMGARNER ON SCHEDULE
Bumgarner said that as of his third spring start, he’s “where he wants to be,” after giving up one run and striking out four in three innings.

‘The pitches are a little sharper and crisper. The ball is going in the right direction,” Bumgarner said. “I’m a little ahead of schedule. I felt like I’m more or less ready the last couple of starts.”

One of the better hitting pitchers, Bumgarner said that time devoted to hitting would be “coming soon.”

“There’s no timetable on that,” he said. “We’ve been hitting in the cage pretty often, and we’ll be hitting on the field in the next few days.

Bumgarner is a career .183 hitter with 14 home runs. Last season, he hit .186 with a .268 on-base percentage, three homers, six doubles and nine runs batted in, numbers he’d like to improve on.

“I got a fair amount of hits last year, but I got a lot more opportunities,” Bumgarner said. “I’m not a big goal setter, but if I can keep my average in the .200s, I feel like I’m doing my part pretty well.”

COACH’S INJURY UPDATE
Giants first base coach Jose Alguacil underwent successful surgery Saturday night in a Scottsdale hospital.

Alguacil was hospitalized after suffering a broken nose, a deep laceration above his eye and small fractures in his eye socket when he was hit by a foul ball in the eighth inning of San Francisco’s 2-0 split-squad loss to Kansas City.

Alguacil, along with the other Giants coaches, was sitting in front of the backstop near the dugout when he took a foul off the bat off the Royals’ Hunter Dozier. The injured coach, who never lost consciousness, was airlifted to a Valley trauma center.

No timetable for Alguacil’s return has been announced.

THE GAME
Kansas City came from behind to beat the Giants 4-3 before a sellout crowd of 11,197 at Scottsdale Stadium.

The Royals tied the game with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, and pushed the go-ahead run across in the top of the ninth when Bubba Starling singled and scored on Zane Evans’ infield groundout.

San Francisco took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third on Buster Posey’s two-run single to right off Royals’ starter Danny Duffy. The Giants extended their lead to 3-1 in the fourth on Mac Williamson’s solo homer to right-center, his first of the Cactus League season.

Posey was 2-for-3.

Kevin McCarthy (1-0), the fourth Royals pitcher, picked up the win in relief, Albert Saurez (0-1), the seventh hurler for San Francisco, was the losing pitcher, and Malcolm Culver picked up his first save.

The Giants are 3-8 in Cactus League play, while the Royals improved to 7-3.

WEEK AHEAD
The Giants host Cleveland’s split squad on Monday, play the Dodgers in Glendale on Tuesday and host the Puerto Rico WBC team on Wednesday before taking Thursday off.

A’s ROSTER UPDATE
Over in Mesa, the Oakland Athletics reassigned right-handed pitchers Michael Brady, Trey Cochran-Gill, Heath Fillmyer, Tucker Healy, Aaron Kurcz and Josh Smith to their minor league camp.

The A’s now have 64 players in camp, including 40 players on the 40-man roster and 24 non-roster invitees. The breakdown includes 28 pitchers, six catchers, 19 infielders and 11 outfielders.

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