Baseball

MLB notes: Posey told not to block the plate

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, left, congratulates relief pitcher Dan Otero (37) after the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Mets, which the Giants won 6-1 on Monday, April 23, 2012, in New York. Posey hit a home run in the game. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, left, congratulates relief pitcher Dan Otero (37) after the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Mets, which the Giants won 6-1 on Monday, April 23, 2012, in New York. Posey hit a home run in the game. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Buster Posey knows the day will come when he again has to step toward the third-base line, see a charging runner trying to score and brace for contact. That's life as a catcher. Sometimes, such moments occur with devastating consequences, like Posey's season-ending left leg and ankle injury last May 25 when he was run over at the plate by the Marlins' Scott Cousins.

Now with Miami's first trip back to San Francisco, Posey has come back very strong. But Giants manager and former catcher Bruce Bochy has told him since Day 1 of spring training not to block the plate.

Bochy said he took the decision out of Posey's hands because, "I certainly don't want people to think he's backing off on his own."

Posey thinks he can live with that restriction. "Even last year, I never set up on the plate," he said. "I always set up a little bit in front of the plate, so it's not that big of a change to move maybe a step out a little bit further."

Clemens trial

In a damaging blow to the government's federal perjury case against Roger Clemens, New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte testified Wednesday that he was only 50 percent sure Clemens admitted to him that he had used human growth hormone.

"As you sit here today, you believe in your heart of hearts and your mind that you very well might have misunderstood Mr. Clemens," Michael Attanasio, one of Clemens' lawyers, said to Pettitte. "Sitting here now, you're 50-50 that you misunderstood him, is that fair?"

Looking exasperated, Pettitte answered, "I'd say that's fair." Then he swiveled his seat slightly toward the jury and away from Clemens, who was sitting across the room at the defense table.

Out of the shadows

The Cardinals have started taking batting practice early to avoid late-afternoon shadows.Manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday that players can get a better read on the ball and get comfortable with their swing if visibility is better.

So the team began its hitting drills more than three hours before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Lance Berkman, on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled left calf, took batting practice for the first time since being injured. But Matheny said Berkman hasn't begun running yet and is unlikely to be ready to come off the DL on time this weekend.

Sidelined

■ The Phillies have placed first baseman Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list and recalled catcher Erik Kratz from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Thome has not played since leaving Saturday's game with tightness in his lower back. The 41-year-old Thome is hitting .111 with no homers or RBI and 10 strikeouts in 18 at-bats. . . . The Red Sox placed third baseman Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back.

West Coast update

■ Several hours after the sale of the team to Guggenheim Baseball Management became official, the Dodgers ran their record to 17-7 by beating host Colorado 7-6 Tuesday night. Ted Lilly threw six solid innings and the Dodgers got home runs from Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier and ex-Paul Dunbar star A.J. Ellis. . . . Jerome Williams pitched a three-hitter for his second major-league shutout and Torii Hunter homered for the fourth time in five games to lead the host Angels over struggling Minnesota 4-0.

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