SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Rutledge is hoping his versatile skill set will be a better fit in the National League as he returns to the NL West after three years with the Red Sox.Rutledge broke into the Majors with a bang in 2012, posting a .274/.306/.469 slash line in 73
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Josh Rutledge is hoping his versatile skill set will be a better fit in the National League as he returns to the NL West after three years with the Red Sox.
Rutledge broke into the Majors with a bang in 2012, posting a .274/.306/.469 slash line in 73 games for the Rockies while replacing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who was limited to 47 games by injuries. Rutledge's emergence even had some pundits thinking Tulo could move to third base.
Rutledge was the Opening Day second baseman in 2013 and played a little at third, but ultimately yielded to Gold Glovers Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado.
"The [American League] is fun, but especially with the positions that I've been able to play the last few years, I think the National League is a better fit," said Rutledge, who is trying to earn a utility role on the Giants' Opening Day roster. "I had some good times [in Boston]. I really enjoyed that organization, but I've also played against [the Giants] for a long time and seen what they can do. We were in talks with them even [before] last year. Once they came back this year and said they were still interested in me, I thought that said a lot about the want for me to be here. To me, it was kind of a no-brainer."
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His three years with the Red Sox were something of a struggle, and injuries didn't help things. He dealt with a concussion and had problems with his hip, knee and hamstring, limiting him to 259 plate appearances over three years, fewer than any one of his three years in Colorado.
"[The Red Sox and Giants] are out to do one thing, and that's win," Rutledge said. "You can see that just by walking in the clubhouse. I think this is a good fit."
Rutledge is looking to fit into an infield that features Joe Panik at second base, newcomer Evan Longoria at third and Brandon Crawford at short, and he'll be competing with, among others, Pablo Sandoval, who started Friday at first and Sunday at third, and Kelby Tomlinson, who made his second start at shortstop Sunday. Rutledge started at third Saturday, going 1-for-2.
"Yesterday was pretty good," Rutledge said. "I'm just taking it day by day and seeing how everything's feeling. Staying healthy is the main thing for me [this spring]. Just build up, and whatever happens happens."
Posey and Longo compare bats
Before Buster Posey made his Cactus League debut Sunday, he borrowed a bat from new teammate Longoria to get a feel for the old-style ash bat Longoria prefers.
Posey has found something of a kindred spirit in Longoria, who came to San Francisco in a December trade with the Rays.
"He seems like a guy who just likes baseball," Posey said of the Giants' third baseman. "Even if you're a Major League Baseball player, it doesn't mean that you necessarily like the game. He genuinely seems to like it. I'll watch him, and he's always got a bat, kind of feeling it. You like having those guys around."
Posey said he's always keeping his eyes open, and might ask his bat manufacturer to send him some in Longoria's model.
"He mostly swings maple," Longoria said as he inspected the grain and listened to the tone of his bats, picking out a good one for Posey. "I'm one of the only guys now who swings ash.
"Ash has a lot more flex. If you look at a high-speed picture of an ash bat vs. a maple bat, you'll actually see a bow with the ash, whereas the maple just stays straight as an arrow. It's like you're swinging a telephone pole."
Using his own bat, Posey skied the first pitch he saw to left field Sunday, then doubled into the left-center gap in his second at-bat, plating two runs.
"Over the years, I've found I get more out of swinging and just being aggressive," Posey said. "It's an easier way to find out where your timing is rather than tracking [pitches]."
Up next: Right-hander Tyler Beede gets the start against the Royals on Monday as he competes for a spot in the Giants' rotation. Game time is 12:05 p.m. PT, and there will be an exclusive video webcast of the game. Beede will be followed by lefty Derek Holland and righties Cory Gearrin and Derek Law.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.