Arizona Trip: Giants’ Posey Returns

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Giants catcher Buster Posey, the organization’s top position player who was BA’s College Player of the Year in 2008, got his first taste of minor league camp on Monday and immediately began working out with high Class A San Jose.

Posey was reassigned on Sunday, ending a longer-than-expected stay in which he hit .300/.324/.533 (9-for-30) with two home runs, a double and seven RBIs.

“I felt like I learned a lot. It was good to get to learn a lot of the guys up there,” Posey said.

Posey, who received the largest up-front bonus in draft history ($6.2 million), has set his sights on learning the nuances of calling games, a task that was left to his Florida State coaches during his illustrious career there.

Working with veteran catcher Bengie Molina, a pending free agent who in essence could have been helping groom his future replacement, Posey said he picked up key pointers and also gained valuable knowledge from the pitchers.

“I just came in with an open mind,” Posey said. “I caught a lot. I still caught ‘pens and everything else. Those guys have good stuff and they helped me learn to call games better with them calling a game at the same time.”

San Jose opens the season April 9, but it will not be Posey’s pro debut. He was 10-for-26 in seven games with the Giants Arizona League club and then 3-for-11 in a brief sting with short-season Salem-Kaizer before going on to play in Hawaii Winter Baseball.

Pucetas To Triple-A?

Kevin Pucetas was 10-2, 3.02 with 102 strikeouts and 27 walks in 125 innings last year in high Class A San Jose. This year, he might skip Double-A and head straight to Triple-A Fresno.

“It’s still a possibility because of all the things he’s capable of doing,” field coordinator Shane Turner said. “We have to feel he can compete at that level. Mostly he handles failure the right way. If he struggles out of the gate, maybe it’s not so (worrisome).”

Pucetas, who pitched well in the Arizona Fall League, was 0-2, 8.04 in 15 2/3 innings in big league camp, where he issued nine walks and struck out five.

Rodriguez Staying Back

Outfielder Rafael Rodriguez, who at age 16 is BA’s No. 8 Giants prospect, is likely to open this year in extended spring training before being sent off to a Rookie-level affiliate in June.

Rodriguez, who is 6-5 and 198 pounds and was likened to a Vladimir Guerrero by special assistant Felipe Alou, signed for $2.55 million last July. He walked by the high Class A San Jose team on his way to the dugout on Monday, and it was understandable why he has been compared to Dave Winfield.

“He’s been outstanding in this program,” Turner said. “But at his age, going out to play (for a full-season club) might be a lot to ask of him.”

Impressive Lineup
Here was San Jose’s lineup against high Class A Daytona (Cubs) on Monday:

Brandon Crawford, ss
Nick Noonan, 2b
Conor Gillaspie, 3b
Buster Posey, c
Roger Kieshnick, rf
Angel Villalona, 1b
Garrett Baker, lf
Thomas Neal, dh
Shane Jordan, of

Gillaspie had the best at-bat of the day. Facing Australian righthander Ryan Searle, the lefthanded hitting Gillaspie inside-outed a curve and managed to keep it fair just past the third base bag.