Buster Posey ‘anxious, happy’ in return after broken ankle

David Brown
Big League Stew

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey squatted behind home plate. He sprung to his feet trying to throw out a runner stealing second base. He dropped to his knees three times to block pitches in the dirt. He stood in the batter's box against left-hander Aroldis Chapman throwing 99 mph. The usual.

He was playing baseball again. The San Francisco Giants had their franchise catcher back.

"I've been looking forward to playing for some time, so I was just happy to be out there," Posey said Friday in his first action since May 25, when he broke his left leg in a gruesome crash at home plate with Florida's Scott Cousins.

Posey played two innings on defense, and flied out on a slider in his only at-bat in San Francisco's 6-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds. Posey said the plan was to catch again Sunday, as long as his ankle felt OK.

"Every indication now is it'll be good," Posey said. "We've kind of stuck to the plan the whole way and ... I'm trying to treat it like I'm preparing it for opening day."

A full house in full throat at Scottsdale Stadium greeted Posey when he and pitcher Matt Cain took the field to warm up about 20 minutes before the first pitch. Dozens of "Posey 28 jerseys" dotted the grandstand among the "55 Lincecum" and "38 Wilson" shirts. But this was Posey's day.

"I thought everyone really loved me," Cain said about the uproar. "Then I looked behind me and saw Buster.

"That's pretty cool, to have that kind of ovation just to go out to a bullpen. The fans are excited just to see him on the field."

Posey said the experience made him nervous.

"I think so," Posey said. "I haven't played since the end of last May. Definitely had some nerves. Good nerves, though."

Reds leadoff man Brandon Phillips acknowledged Posey's return in the first inning during a brief conversation at the plate.

"He was just saying, 'Glad to see you back,' " Posey said.

Despite jitters and it being his first game in nearly 10 months, Posey performed ... like Posey.

"Buster didn't skip a beat back there," Cain said. "He had the gameplan of what we wanted to do and he went out there and did that. That's kind of the way Buster is. He did that even when he first came up."

Posey liked getting a chance to throw out a runner — though his peg hit Miguel Cairo in the back — and that he had to test his ankle and get dirty blocking pitches.

"Fortunately, that's been something that's come back," Posey said. "I haven't really had any problems with that, as far as ankle mobility. But it was good to get something in the game [to test it]."

What didn't happen: No contact plays at the plate (probably OK for the first game) and no hits to the gap so he could activate his doubles speed. It'll all come in due time. Posey is soaking all of it in, too.

"I've enjoyed just practice — this is obviously better, being in the game — but I've enjoyed the little things," Posey said. "Just being out there and going through the everyday routine."

Mundane can sure feel great sometimes.

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