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Posey eager to play with new-look Giants

All-Star catcher should benefit from McCutchen's presence in order @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey's equal appreciation for the old and the new has stoked his optimism as baseball's new season approaches.

In short, he's ready for a fresh start.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey's equal appreciation for the old and the new has stoked his optimism as baseball's new season approaches.

In short, he's ready for a fresh start.

Posey, who will report with Giants pitchers and catchers to Spring Training on Tuesday, thanked management for holding onto the club's key performers despite its 64-98 record in 2017.

"You read about it a lot. People are questioning why the team wasn't blown up after the horrendous season that we had last year," Posey said during FanFest this weekend.

It won't be the same group, however, due to the additions of outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson, along with third baseman Evan Longoria.

Video: Longoria on adjusting to new team, new league

"Bringing in guys like that who are established Major League players for the last decade will take some of the weight off of the guys who have been with the Giants for a while," said Posey, a five-time All-Star.

Experience has sharpened Posey's perspective. With Matt Cain's retirement following last season, Posey has become the longest-tenured Giant in continuous service, having remained in the Majors to stay since May 29, 2010.

Mention of that season reminded Posey of the current Giants. Then, as now, the club's roster featured veterans such as first baseman Aubrey Huff, shortstop Edgar Renteria, infielder Juan Uribe and left fielder Pat Burrell. Each of them contributed significantly to the franchise's initial San Francisco-era World Series title that year.

The similarity between that team and this one, said Posey, is "really exciting. I'm looking forward to getting out on the field with them."

Video: Bochy on Giants' new faces, contending in '18

It has been theorized that the addition of McCutchen and Longoria, who typically have occupied spots in the heart of the batting order, will deter opposing pitchers from skirting Posey -- depending on how manager Bruce Bochy arranges them. Posey, however, would prefer not to focus on the "protection" issue, admitting that he occasionally has dwelled on it too much.

"From experience, I think I've sometimes fallen into the trap of overthinking who's in front or behind you," Posey said, adding that he tries to emulate the simple approach of Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.

"He always talks about going to the plate being ready to hit," Posey said. "So I think regardless of where you are in the lineup, who's in front of you or behind you, that's still the mindset. Whether you get the pitches or not, you still have to be ready no matter what."

Posey has remained offensively effective through his eight Major League seasons, as his .308 career average indicates. But though he's competing in an era that favors power hitters, he mustered 12 homers last year, a career low for a full season -- despite increasing his Fly-ball rate from 29.9 percent in 2016 to 33 percent in '17, according to FanGraphs.

"I did hit more balls in the air last year. Just not over the fence," said Posey, who nevertheless captured a National League Silver Slugger Award as the top offensive performer at his position.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Buster Posey