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Giants camp to be all Buster Posey, all the time

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I don’t believe we ever officially welcomed Andrew Baggarly to the fold over here. Already my favorite Giants beat writer, he just made the move from the San Jose Mercury News to CSN Bay Area, where he’ll continue covering the team.

Baggarly today provides a full rundown on the current plans for Buster Posey, who is coming back from last year’s gruesome ankle injury. He’s all ready to play and he’ll catch a couple of pitchers during the first official workouts in Giants camp on Sunday, but he’ll also have a light workload initially in camp and he might spend some time at first base in an effort to keep him strong.

If you want more details than that, go read the full article. Or just do it anyway. We’re all one big happy family here under the Comcast umbrella.

Except, of course, I have to pick on Baggarly now, because he closes his article with this:

Everyone knows it: Posey’s recovery is the most significant storyline for the Giants this spring and it’s integral to their chances to reestablish themselves in the NL West. It’s no surprise that a large number of national media members have requested time with him after Sunday’s workout. The Giants arranged a news conference setting to deal with the requests.

Maybe it won’t be on par with the annual “State of Barry” news events. But Posey is every bit as important to the Giants as Barry Bonds used to be.

No. No way. Not even close. Probably no one since Babe Ruth has ever been as important to his team as Barry Bonds used to be. Forget for a moment about how he got to be the player he was and just amaze at the numbers: Bonds posted an OPS over 1.000 in 13 straight seasons, topping out at 1.422. He won seven NL MVP awards, including four in a row from 2001-04. Those four seasons rank fourth, second, eighth and first all-time on the single-season OPS list.

I’m a big Buster Posey fan, but the odds are against him winning even one NL MVP award. His health is a huge key to the Giants’ chances this season. But the Giants did manage to go 86-76 without him last year. When Bonds missed most of 2005, the Giants slipped from 91 wins to 75.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.