SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey squatted into a catcher’s crouch for his first spring training bullpen session and began receiving pitches from ace Tim Lincecum, then Matt Cain.
He practiced springing up to throw after catching the ball, with no hesitation or signs that he had ever been seriously hurt.
Posey showed he has plenty of pop in his bat, too. He cleared the fences a couple of times in his first round of batting practice at Scottsdale Stadium on Sunday, Day 1 for Giants pitchers and catchers.
After bench coach Ron Wotus surrendered those home run balls, Posey quipped: “Four-seamer coming at 55 (mph), I tend to square that one up.”
Clearly, San Francisco’s cleanup hitter is loose, good-natured and in a positive frame of mind.
“It was special for me because I’ve put in a lot of work to get back to this point and this is just another step,” Posey said. “There’s still some work to do but I was very happy with today.”
The 2010 NL Rookie of the Year made his highly anticipated return to the field in a formal setting after a season-ending leg injury last year. He tore three ligaments in his left ankle and broke a bone in his lower leg in a frightening home-plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins on May 25.
Posey is one of a handful of key major leaguers working back from injuries this spring – including Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Joba Chamberlain, of the Yankees.
Posey wants to keep catching for years to come, though changing positions did cross his mind a few times. He refuses to get involved in speaking out about the need for any rules changes when it comes to making contact with the catcher (manager Bruce Bochy is handling that campaign). Posey wants to do everything he can to stay in the lineup as a regular.
“I think it’s just a greater appreciation for doing what I do, just enjoying this, being out here today catching a couple of pens and maybe some of the not-so-glamorous stuff of a catcher’s job,” he said. “Enjoying that stuff a little bit more and just knowing that it can be gone quick.”
In 2010, he wasn’t even called up from Triple-A Fresno until late May but still batted .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI in 108 games to help the Giants capture their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco.
“I know they’re glad to have him back,” Bochy said. “He’s very popular in the clubhouse and they know how long a road he had to endure in his rehab. That’s a tough road. The talent he brings makes us a better club.”