03/11/2013 8:37 PM ET
Posey gets good test vs. Darvish, Nathan
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Intensity rose almost to regular-season levels in the third inning of Monday's Giants-Rangers Cactus League game when San Francisco cleanup hitter Buster Posey confronted Texas right-hander Yu Darvish.
One inning earlier, Darvish struck out Posey on three pitches. Their next confrontation promised to be more of an even matchup, since Darvish had just been rocked by Hunter Pence's RBI double and Posey would be batting with two on and two out -- the kind of situation that the reigning National League Most Valuable Player relishes.
Call the outcome even. Posey lined a 2-2 pitch to right field, where Mike Olt made a diving catch to save two runs. The Giants ultimately triumphed, 2-1.
Posey struck out in his final at-bat against ex-Giant Joe Nathan, but felt upbeat about his 0-for-3 afternoon. He particularly relished his matchup against Darvish, who finished 16-9 and made the American League All-Star team last year.
"That was a good one," Posey said. "Any time you get a chance to face a guy like him, even Nathan in my last at-bat, those are the ones you want to get in the spring because you want to see a guy's best stuff."
That's indeed what Posey experienced. Nathan, he said, struck him out on sliders, and the line drive off Darvish came on a slider.
"I saw my share of sliders, which is good," Posey said.
Before lining out against Darvish, Posey had to spin away from a high-and-tight fastball. But Darvish intended no malice. He appreciated the challenge of facing Posey.
"I was looking forward to facing him. I had heard he was a great hitter," Darvish said. "People were right. He is a great hitter."
Bumgarner turns it up in start against Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner recorded what was easily his best outing of the spring Monday, working four shutout innings as the Giants outlasted the Texas Rangers, 2-1.
Bumgarner permitted one hit while walking one and striking out four. He twice retired Jurickson Profar, Texas' rookie shortstop ranked by MLB.com as the overall No. 1 prospect, on called third strikes.
"You've got to be on your game facing a lineup like that," Bumgarner said. "I know it's spring for them, too, but they can swing the bat."
Bumgarner echoed Matt Cain, who said Sunday that pitchers must begin taking a more serious approach even though nearly three weeks of Spring Training remain.
Said Bumgarner, "It's getting time now when you want to start being game-ready instead of working on certain things."
Catcher Buster Posey witnessed Bumgarner's sharpness first-hand.
"He threw the ball to both sides of the plate as well as I've seen him this spring," Posey said. "He got some changeups over for strikes and worked the curveball in as well."
Torres snaps in return in action
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Even the eternally pleasant Andres Torres has his breaking point.
After striking out for the second straight time in the fourth inning of Monday's Cactus League game against Texas, Torres broke his bat over his knee in sheer fury.
Playing his first spring game since returning from an oblique injury and his third game overall, Torres went 0-for-4 in the Giants' 2-1 victory.
"I just got mad," Torres said. "I just reacted, you know?. ... Sometimes you have to let it go, once in a while. Everybody gets mad."
Asked about the condition of the knee that he used as a fulcrum, Torres responded, "My knee's fine. The bat is broke."
Torres recalled breaking a bat in anger as recently as last year, but that happened in the privacy of an indoor batting cage.
If nothing else, the switch-hitter commanded his teammates' attention.
"I've seen him do it a few times," left-hander Madison Bumgarner said. "He's pretty strong."
Said catcher Buster Posey, "That was impressive, wasn't it?"
Manager Bruce Bochy looked beyond Torres' anger and saw a player who must regain his hitting stroke. The Giants signed Torres to a one-year, $2 million contract to serve as their top reserve outfielder.
"He needs playing time," Bochy said. "We need to get him out there as much as we can."
• The Giants will face Japan's two-time defending champion World Baseball Classic squad Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium. Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit will start for San Francisco. Japan finished Pool A with a 2-1 record, defeating Brazil and China to earn a berth in the Classic's second round. Japan will face the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the finals of the second round Tuesday to determine the seeding for the Classic's semifinals at AT&T Park.
• Tony Abreu, who entered camp as a leading candidate to claim a utility infielder's role on the Opening Day roster, went 1-for-2 with an infield single in his Cactus League debut Monday. Abreu, bothered by a sore left knee all spring, said that he still felt lingering pain.
• Right-hander Heath Hembree struck out the side in an overpowering eighth inning. It represented a recovery for Hembree, who yielded four fifth-inning runs last Thursday against Cleveland. "Good for him to bounce back," Bochy said. "That's what you look for."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.