Giants catcher and former Lee County star Buster Posey, right, stands 10 feet from the plate as he waits for the throw to home during a game against the Diamondbacks last week. Posey was criticized this week for being too cautious while playing catcher since his injury last year.
SAN FRANCISCO — Not everyone is a fan of the new play-it-safe tactic by the San Francisco Giants in regards to protecting star catcher and Leesburg native Buster Posey.
Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, saw his sophomore season end last year after a brutal home-plate collision with the Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, whose jarring hit sent Posey to the DL in late May and to the Giants’ rehab facility for more than six months with a broken left fibula and three torn tendons in his ankle.
But now that Posey is back — and once again behind the plate and back in harm’s way — at least one Major League Baseball scout told ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark this week that some feel that Posey is playing far too cautiously at the one position that serves as a team’s last line of defense from allowing runs to score.
Stark wrote in his weekly MLB blog, “Rumblings and Grumblings,” that Posey seems rattled by the injury, and is letting what happened affect his play.
Stark wrote: “ ... You could understand why the Giants would have told Buster Posey to stop blocking the plate. But they didn’t tell him to set up halfway to San Jose when he’s about to take throws from the outfield. Posey allowed a run to score last weekend because he couldn’t reach a baserunner with a swipe tag. And it was much the same in spring training.”
Stark then wrote that an MLB source told him Posey’s nervousness behind the plate is very noticeable.
“He’s giving runners the entire H.O.V. lane to cross home plate,” the source reportedly told ESPN.com “I can understand being cautious after what happened to him, but that’s a little too cautious.”
This doesn’t seem to be a widely-shared opinion around the majors as no one other than Stark and his “source” have spoken about it since Posey’s return, which came full circle Friday afternoon when Posey smashed a double off the wall in his first at-bat during the Giants’ home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park — marking his first game back in San Fran’s home ball park where the season-ending injury occurred.
Regardless of anyone knocking his defense early in the season as he tries to get reacclimated following the frightening injury, his offense hasn’t struggled one bit. He’s batting .300 with a home run, one double, three RBI and three runs scored in just six games.