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Giants Encouraged By Posey’s Progress

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Buster Posey sits in the Giants' dugout during their game against Minnesota in June. Posey making progress as he recovers from an injured ankle. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Buster Posey sits in the Giants’ dugout during their game against Minnesota in June. Posey making progress as he recovers from an injured ankle. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Buster Posey is still on schedule to catch a bullpen session in Arizona before season’s end — a goal established by the San Francisco training staff after the reigning NL Rookie of the Year went down with a season-ending broken left leg in May.

Posey played catch on the field with athletic trainer Dave Groeschner on Wednesday before the Giants’ series finale with the San Diego Padres. It was Posey’s third such session of catch.

“He passed me while walking in today. I said, ‘Geez, you’ve got a lot of hop to your step now,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s feeling good about where he’s at.”

Posey was headed to Arizona late Wednesday when the team headed on the road in order to increase his rehabilitation routine and is set to begin hitting off a tee next week.

“He’s pretty accelerated right now,” Groeschner said. “He’ll just keep progressing.”

Posey was lost for the season after tearing three ligaments in his left ankle and fracturing a bone in his lower leg in a frightening home-plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins on May 25.

“He may be a little bit ahead or right on,” Groeschner said. “That’s great, but we’ve still got to get to the finish line. We’d like him to catch a bullpen in Arizona before he goes home. That’s the goal we set two months ago, so he has the confidence he can do it.”

Losing Posey was a huge blow for the defending World Series champions, who began the day trailing the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks by 8 1/2 games in the NL West.

He wasn’t even called up from Triple-A Fresno until late May last year, then batted .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 108 games while playing catcher and some first base.

Posey hit eight of his homers after Sept. 1 and helped the Giants capture their first division crown since 2003.

Bochy is encouraged to see Posey’s workload at this stage.

“I talked to Buster quite a while this morning. He’s feeling good, he’s in a good frame of mind,” Bochy said. “I think he’s excited now he can do a few more things. He even jogged a little bit on the treadmill and he’s playing catch. Once he gets to Arizona he’ll start swinging the bat. He’s been missing that, you can tell.

“He’s excited he’s getting to a point now where he can turn up the baseball activities. It’s been a tough summer for him, not just watching games but not able to really do a lot. Now he can get back to doing what he really loves, playing baseball.”

Injured pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and outfielder Nate Schierholtz also are headed to the team’s Scottsdale, Ariz., spring training site to continue their recoveries. Sanchez is still considered doubtful to pitch again this year because of a sprained left ankle that swells each time he throws. Schierholtz has a fractured right foot and is wearing a walking boot, at least until this weekend.

Schierholtz, who traveled to Vail, Colo., last week to see foot specialist, Dr. Tom Clanton, fouled a pitch from Atlanta’s Tim Hudson off his foot in the series opener with the Braves on Aug. 15. He played through it, then had an MRI on Aug. 22. A CT scan followed to confirm the fracture.

Bochy didn’t rule out Schierholtz getting into a game before the season ends.

“I hope to take BP the last week here,” Schierholtz said. “I’d like to do all my baseball work before the season ends so I go into the offseason knowing I’m 100 percent healthy.”

Injured closer Brian Wilson, last season’s majors saves leader, played light catch and is scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday as he works back from an inflamed right elbow.

“Hopefully after that we’ll have a plan of when he may pitch or if he will pitch,” Bochy said. “I know he wants to get back out there, so if all goes well tomorrow we could see him in a game before the season’s over.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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