Second half turning into first-rate grind for Buster Posey
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MIAMI -- The Giants all but kept a baby monitor on Buster Posey’s playing time last year, when he was coming off that devastating ankle injury.

But this year has brought its own challenges.

Posey was out of the lineup Friday and probably will rest again Sunday afternoon, when the Giants finish their road trip at Marlins Park. Hector Sanchez’s three-run pinch homer Thursday was part of the equation, of course.

[NEWS: Giants lineup: Day off for Posey]

But keeping Posey’s legs fresh has been more of an issue this year, manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged.

“It’s a different year in the respect that we played longer games, (especially) the first six weeks of the season when our pitchers were struggling,” Bochy said. “It’s a different game when you catch 125 or 130 pitches versus 200 pitches. That takes a toll on you.”

Posey has dealt with more general soreness this year but Bochy said it “wasn’t anything to be concerned about.” Like the pitching staff, you have to wonder if he’s feeling a cumulative effect from playing to the end of October last year.

Posey certainly hasn’t been the same hitter in the second half this time around. He’s batting .217 with a .290 on-base percentage and .289 slugging percentage (with one home run) in 24 games since the All-Star break.

Last year, he hit .385/.456/.646 after the break to win the N.L. MVP Award. In 2010, he sizzled for .351/.406/.587 after the break while rallying the Giants to the N.L. West title and beyond.

Posey is on pace to start 124 games behind the plate, which would be a career high. Last year, he made 111 starts at catcher and 29 at first base.

Don’t expect Posey to make many more, if any, starts at first base. With the Giants out of contention and Brandon Belt their hottest hitter, there’s no reason to force Posey’s bat into the lineup on days he doesn’t catch.