In the middle of an interview Friday afternoon, Buster Posey noticed that a local cameraman’s microphone was slipping off a table in front of him. He quickly reached down and grabbed it before it crashed to the floor.
“See, hands are good still,” he cracked. “Hands are good.”
That was never a concern last season. Without the ability to properly use his lower half in his swing, Posey still managed to bat .284 by consistently flicking pitchers’ best stuff right back up the middle. That’s no way to go through the second half of a career, though, and Posey underwent serious hip surgery in August.
On Friday, back at Oracle Park with his teammates, he said he’s encouraged by a long winter of rehab work and has no concerns about his status for Opening Day. He also said he's hopeful his power will return in 2019.
“That’s the reason you do the surgery,” he said. “To try to get back to where you previously were before the damage.”
Posey played on a compromised hip throughout the 2018 season and finally succumbed in late August, as the Giants fell out of the race and prepared to trade Andrew McCutchen. On August 27, he had surgery to repair a hip impingement and torn labrum. He also had a microfracture procedure to promote healing.
Despite playing just 105 games, Posey led the Giants in WAR (2.9) and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award. His .359 on-base percentage ranked second among MLB catchers. It was a good season, but the Giants believe much more is on the way. Posey has had no setbacks during the rehab process, and Farhan Zaidi and Bruce Bochy are prepared to see the Posey of old, even if it may take a bit longer than usual to fully ramp up.
Posey anticipates being ready for the first full-squad workout later this month, but it also seems likely that his true schedule won’t be revealed until the Giants have actually started playing Cactus League games. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him held out deep into March, just in case, and Zaidi said they could take it easy in April, too.