With a roster full of veterans, the San Francisco Giants are easing into the Spring Training schedule.
Despite expectations, Buster Posey didn’t return to action on Wednesday following the team’s day off in Arizona. And after Mark Melancon recorded a perfect inning, he sounded like a guy still recovering from an injury that limited him in his first year in San Francisco.
Manager Bruce Bochy rebutted any concern for Posey by reminding everyone what time of year it is after their game.
“Buster is going to start Friday,” Bochy told reporters. “The reason we didn’t start him today is that we haven’t seen him run the bases and do those types of things, make sure we don’t have a risk of another type of injury. Could he have played today? Sure, but we want to give him a couple days to do those necessary baseball activities and get ready.”
Melancon spun a 1-2-3 fifth inning, but indicated that he wasn’t 100-percent healthy.
“It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes. Is discomfort just part of the process? I don’t know,” Melancon told reporters. “I believe it is, it’s just part of the process. I don’t view it as a negative thing necessarily. It’s just part of it.”
The main goal of Spring Training is to develop conditioning without suffering any significant injuries. But the Giants are in a precarious position of hoping their players can show full health before they’re thrown into regular action.
The goal for Melancon is to make appearances in consecutive days before camp breaks. And if Posey can claim his starting spot, Bochy may be able to get an idea of how he wants to structure his lineup.
“No question I do [want to get the lineup together],” Bochy told reporters, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It was close today. Before we leave we’ll have them all out there.”
On Wednesday, Joe Panik led off and Brandon Belt followed. Bochy said it’s possible that could be the arrangement against righties come Opening Day. When asked where Posey would fit into the order — which featured Andrew McCutchen in the three-hole and Evan Longoria hitting clean up — Bochy joked, “seventh or eighth.”
Madison Bumgarner started Wednesday’s contest, which ended after 10 innings in a 4-4 tie. The Giants ace threw 3.1 innings, logging six strikeouts and allowing five hits.
“I’m just trying to make pitches and working on different stuff,” Bumgarner said, according to Eno Sarris of the Athletic. “Just trying to make sure that by the end of camp I’m ready to go.”
With the injuries he sustained from a dirt bike accident in April of the 2017 season behind him, Bumgarner appears to be healthy and ready to lead the San Francisco staff. But with nagging injuries to two key players (Posey, Melancon), it’s worth asking whether he’ll have enough first-rate teammates available to make it through the long haul in 2018.