We’ve provided pretty consistent updates on Buster Posey since his season ended last May with a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments following a collision with Marlins’ outfielder Scott Cousins. But after months of talking about the latest step in his rehab process, we finally have some baseball results to pass along.
Posey caught two innings yesterday in his Cactus League debut against the Reds. Though his appearance was brief, he managed to block some balls in the dirt and threw down to second base on a successful stolen base attempt by Miguel Cairo. He had the unenviable task of facing hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman in his only at-bat, running the count to 2-2 before flying out to right field.
The goal is being ready for Opening Day, but Posey told John Schlegel of MLB.com that he was pretty satisfied with his debut.
“I haven’t played since the end of last May, so I definitely had some nerves — good nerves, though,” Posey said.
“This is part of the process. We’ll see how my ankle responds tomorrow. From all indications now, I think it’ll be good. We’ve stuck to the plan the whole way.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Posey’s next step will be catching four innings, likely on Sunday. The hope is to stretch him out to seven or eight innings by the middle of the exhibition schedule and having him catch a full nine-inning game before the team breaks camp.
Earlier, Craig wrote about the negative reaction within the Phillies’ clubhouse after outfielder Odubel Herrera A) flipped his bat on a fly out, and B) failing to run out a dropped third strike. Manager Pete Mackanin was one of Herrera’s critics, unsurprisingly, but so was catcher Cameron Rupp.
Via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Rupp said that the Phillies’ frustration with Herrera is “not a secret.” He said, “Pete is the manager and what he asks us to do, we’re supposed to do. It’s a team thing and one guy can’t just not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It has happened before and that’s something we don’t want to see. We want him in the game. He’s a good player. It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”
Though Rupp didn’t directly say his criticism of Herrera pertained to bat flips, we can logically deduce it as such. Herrera doesn’t commonly fail to run out dropped third strikes, but he does commonly flip his bat, particularly on non-homers.
Rupp had a good game against the Astros on Wednesday night, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The problem? Rupp flipped his bat. In a 9-0 game.
The MLB.com video doesn’t really give a chance to see the full extent of Rupp’s flip, so here’s a .gif from Chris Jones:
And just in case anyone feels I’m interpreting the situation through a biased lens, Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice also saw it the same way.
We should probably expect Mackanin to bench Rupp for the next two games like he did Herrera, right? What’s that, you say? Certain players were more likely to be criticized for expressing emotion and perceived lack of hustle? Really makes you think.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Nationals will call up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde to start in place of Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Strasburg left Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks due to “some nerve impingement.”
Fedde, 24, was the Nationals’ first-round selection (18th overall) in the 2014 draft. The right-hander is the No. 3 prospect in the Nationals’ system, according to MLB Pipeline. Between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, Fedde has a 3.72 ERA with a 69/21 K/BB ratio in 77 1/3 innings.
The Nationals still seem hopeful that Strasburg won’t need a stint on the disabled list. Saturday, of course, will mark five games since his last start which happens to be half of the minimum disabled list stint. The Nationals could always DL him retroactive to Monday. (Update: The Nationals will indeed place Strasburg on the DL, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.)