Posey catches four innings; three first-timers watch from sidelines
NEW YORK -- Madison Bumgarner and Marco Scutaro didn't step on the field in the National League's 3-0 All-Star Game loss Tuesday night. The only pitches Sergio Romo threw were in the bullpen. And Buster Posey left with only a strikeout to his name.
But their All-Star experience at Citi Field was certainly not a forgettable one. Not for them, at least.
"At the end of it all, what a privilege it is just to be here," Romo said. "This could be the only time I ever make an All-Star team, so I enjoyed it."
Posey only came to the plate once, with two outs and a man on first in the bottom of the seventh inning. The reigning NL MVP looked at four straight pitches, running up a 2-2 count, but struck out on an 85 mph slider from Blue Jays right-hander Steve Delabar.
But the most exciting part of Posey's night was behind the plate, not at it. He entered the second All-Star Game of his young career in the sixth inning, replacing St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. Posey began by catching an inning each from a trio of electric young arms -- Miami's Jose Fernandez, Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel -- then wrapping things up with Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli.
"Everybody I caught was throwing 100, it seems like," Posey said. "When you've never caught a guy before, sometimes it can be a little bit challenging. But they were good. They were all around the zone, so that helped me out."
Posey was particularly impressed by Fernandez, the 20-year-old rookie who struck out two in a perfect inning of work.
"It was really impressive, especially for the situation," Posey said. "You figured there'd be a lot of nerves and excitement, but he seemed to have great poise. Obviously the stuff speaks for itself."
The Giants' other representatives in the Big Apple, meanwhile, soaked in their first All-Star experience from the sidelines.
Romo warmed up in the bullpen during the seventh inning but didn't get into the game, leaving the NL without an appearance from the Romo-Posey battery that closed out the 2012 season. Romo had made it clear that he would pitch whenever manager Bruce Bochy called his name -- he even joked that he'd start the game -- but still expressed his gratitude just to be selected to the NL team.
"He told me before the game he was going to do what he can to get me in. If you look at the arms he had available, I don't really know where I stack up amongst those names," Romo said. "I let him know before I'm beyond excited to be here. Everything about this experience, I will never forget. This could very well be my only one, and I definitely made the best of it."
Romo's favorite memory, as he predicted, was getting to meet Mariano Rivera, making his final All-Star Game appearance, on an elevator. Romo shook his hand and expressed his respect for the legendary Yankees closer, only to see why people speak so highly of Rivera's character.
"For him to come back and say, 'Thank you, Romo.' ... Wait. You know my name? Wow," Romo said, grinning. "What a feeling just to know that I'm visible to a person like that, someone I feel is a hero in the game, a guy who I personally look up to."
Bumgarner didn't pitch Tuesday night, either, as Bochy was holding him back in case the game went into extra innings. The 23-year-old left-hander said Monday he was ready and willing to pitch in a long-relief role in his first All-Star Game, but he understood that the situation might not present itself.
The same goes for Marco Scutaro, who came to New York for the first All-Star Game after nearly 20 years playing professional baseball but didn't get an opportunity to enter the game. Bochy told Scutaro he'd do his best to get the 37-year-old infielder in the game at some point, but the opportunity never came.
Scutaro didn't need to step into the batter's box at Citi Field to appreciate the honor of playing in his first Midsummer Classic, however. He said that moment came on a bus ride to the park Monday afternoon.
"Every time I turn my head, I see a really good player. It's pretty neat," Scutaro said. "I was just happy to be here. I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately we didn't come up with a win, but it was a great experience."