LOS ANGELES -- The top of the seventh inning ended wildly Friday night for the San Francisco Giants, as well as for a group of fans seated near the Los Angeles Dodgers dugout.Buster Posey struck out swinging with the bases loaded and two outs on a full-count sinker from Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth. Except this wasn't any ordinary swing that Posey took. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year lost his grip on the bat, which flew into the stands just beyond the outermost left edge of the backstop. Instead of cheering the out that ended the threat and preserved Los Angeles' 4-3 lead -- which proved to be the final score -- many fans booed Posey in the apparent yet odd belief that he had intentionally flung his bat and endangered the spectators. Nobody seemed to be harmed, which became clear when a fan stood and drew cheers when he triumphantly brandished Posey's bat. Nor was Posey embarrassed.
"That's something I've always done," he said.This could be expected from Posey, who frequently finishes his swing with just his left hand gripping the bat. Patrons occupying field-level seats may consider themselves warned.
Giants pleased to keep Kroon in organization
LOS ANGELES -- Marc Kroon's decision to accept his assignment to Triple-A Fresno increases the Giants' relief pitching depth, at least temporarily.Kroon, a non-roster invitee to Spring Training who thrived as a closer in Japan during the previous six seasons, repeatedly expressed doubt that he would go to the Minor Leagues if, as expected, the Giants lacked room for him on the Opening Day roster. The right-hander's change of heart thrilled the Giants, particularly given Kroon's excellent performance in exhibition games. He finished 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 appearances and allowed six hits while striking out 13 in 10 2/3 innings. "I'm glad Marc made this decision," manager Bruce Bochy said. Kroon still can escape. General manager Brian Sabean said that Kroon has a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave Fresno if he's not in the Majors by June 1. Neither Sabean nor Bochy was certain whether Kroon would open the season as Fresno's closer, mainly because right-hander Steve Edlefsen also thrived in exhibition games. The 25-year-old sidewinder recorded an 0.96 ERA in 11 games. "I don't think any of us knew what to expect," Sabean said, referring to Edlefsen. "He threw strikes and kept his delivery together more than we expected."
Burriss may have been rushed, says Giants GM
LOS ANGELES -- Had the Giants been able to follow a perfect developmental blueprint, they might not have needed to approach Freddy Sanchez about the one-year contract extension that was announced Friday.Because Emmanuel Burriss would be ready to take over second base. But left foot fractures in 2009 and 2010 delayed Burriss' progress considerably. It's easy to forget that Burriss, 26, was San Francisco's Opening Day second baseman in 2009. One year before that, Burriss hit .283 in 95 games. But general manager Brian Sabean admitted that the switch-hitter might have benefited from more Minor League seasoning. "He never really learned how to play, because we rushed him to the big leagues," Sabean said. "And he didn't really ever learn how to hit."
Bochy gets top award from youth coaching group
LOS ANGELES -- Being honored by the Positive Coaching Alliance has special meaning for Giants manager Bruce Bochy.Bochy will receive the organization's highest honor, the Ronald L. Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the group's annual National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Auction next Thursday at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Menlo Park, Calif. "I know how much my coaches influenced me, when I played Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion baseball," Bochy said Friday. "They certainly were instrumental in my development, both as a baseball player and as a person." Bochy, 55, has managed in the Major Leagues for 17 consecutive seasons, the second-longest active streak behind St. Louis' Tony La Russa (33 years). Before turning to managing and coaching, Bochy caught professionally for 14 years, including all or part of nine seasons with the Houston Astros, New York Mets and San Diego Padres. Speaking at the ceremony, said Bochy, will "give me a chance to thank all those who helped me and spent time with me all my young years." PCA founder and executive director Jim Thompson explained that the Giants' World Series title magnified Bochy's effective style in dealing with athletes. "We are honoring Bruce Bochy because his leadership of the Giants to their World Series victory set an outstanding example for youth sports coaches," Thompson said in a statement. "Bruce's ability to keep even the most unsung Giants players ready to contribute was key to the team's success. Youth sports coaches can learn a great deal from him about the importance of a team culture, set from the top down, that values each individual." The evening of the PCA dinner will include live and silent auctions and ceremonies to honor various youth and high school coaches. San Francisco 49ers broadcaster Ted Robinson will serve as master of ceremonies. PCA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing all youth athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. Founded as a non-profit within the Stanford University Athletic Department in 1998, PCA has the mission of "transforming youth sports so sports can transform youth." To that end, PCA has conducted nearly 9,000 live group workshops nationwide for more than 475,000 youth and high school sports leaders, coaches and parents. Workshop attendees have helped create a positive, character-building youth sports environment for roughly 3.5 million youth athletes. More information and online ticket sales for PCA's National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Auction, sponsored by Deloitte, are available at www.positivecoach.org/nysa-2011.aspx.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.