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    Posey catching some looks

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    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Even if catcher Buster Posey doesn't crack the Opening Day roster, his arrival in the big leagues isn't far away.

    The top prospect had a successful spring in the eyes of Giants coaches and officials. Manager Bruce Bochy said it's no longer accurate to rank Posey's catching skills behind his talented bat.

    "His catching is much improved and he is much more comfortable behind the plate," Bochy said. "He's really made huge strides. ... He feels he belongs."

    Posey also looked like a natural in 23 innings at first base, a position he hadn't played since the Cape Cod League. And he hit .347 while showing a balanced, no-panic approach with two strikes.

    There remains support behind the idea of starting Posey in the big leagues and finding him three to four starts a week split between catcher and first base. But the prevailing opinion is to send Posey to catch every day at Triple-A Fresno -- especially because playing time would be scarce at the outset, when the Giants play just 21 games in 25 days.

    Posey, 23, wants to be on that flight to Houston for the opener.

    "If you ask anybody, they'd be disappointed if they aren't," he said. "At the same time, I won't change the way I play the game. I'll play hard and try to continue to improve every day. I'm fortunate and blessed to play this game."

    Posey said he was pleased with the way he competed.

    "I felt comfortable catching all the guys," he said. "That's the most important goal, to catch a good game. At the plate, I felt pretty good. Hopefully I can get the barrel on some of those fastballs early in the count instead of fouling them off. I think that will come in time."

    In addition to gaining some weight over the winter, Posey's familiarity with the pitching staff helped him get settled behind the plate.

    "He really quieted down back there," Bochy said. "I like how he's receiving the ball. "... He's blocked well, thrown well. "... He's really made huge strides."

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