Posey (yawn) does it again
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey’s feats of Cactus League skill have become almost commonplace.
Friday, Posey’s two-out, eighth-inning double off Cleveland left-hander Tony Sipp drove in Matt Downs with Friday’s tiebreaking run as the Giants proceeded to a 7-6 victory over a Cleveland Indians split squad.
Posey again displayed the almost preternatural calm that distinguishes him from most rookies. He fell behind on the count 0-2 before a passed ball sent Matt Downs, who drew a one-out walk, to second base.
Posey then whacked a low curveball into left field and hustled into second base with a slide as Downs came home.
With his .382 batting average and ability to play first base as well as catch, Posey is increasing the Giants’ temptation to keep him on the Opening Day roster.
Manager Bruce Bochy praised Posey’s two-strike approach. “He doesn’t panic,” Bochy said. “He really kept his composure.”
Eugenio Velez received a chance to prove himself in center field. The results were favorable — mostly.
Velez went 3-for-3, drew a walk and scored twice. He also recorded three consecutive outs spanning the first and second innings, making nice running catches on drives hit by Jhonny Peralta and Austin Kearns.
But Velez seemed to drift under a couple of seventh-inning fly balls that were wind-aided and fell for extra-base hits. Maybe the breeze rendered the plays impossible. But the impression here was that a more polished outfielder would have come closer to making the catches.
It’s believed that Velez and Andres Torres are in competition for the same reserve outfield spot. They’re both fast, they both switch-hit and they both can play all three outfield spots. Torres appears to be the better defender. But Velez, who’s out-hitting Torres .367-.290, may have an edge on offense.
Travis Ishikawa, who has overcome torn ligaments in his left foot, made his first Cactus League appearance as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning. Ishikawa was robbed of a hit by first baseman Matt LaPorta’s diving play. Bochy said that Ishikawa will substitute at first base Saturday against Cincinnati and will start Sunday against Arizona.
Brian Wilson, who has been pitching in the middle innings, received his first “save opportunity” Friday and struck out the side.
Wilson said that though it’s only the Cactus League, “you still have to treat it as a save situation. Whether it counts or not, you still have to get ready.”
– Chris Haft