SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Will Ferrell was absolutely surrounded as he changed into Giants gear in the ninth inning Thursday night. There were cameramen, HBO producers, MLB employees, Giants coaches and many more.
And in the middle of it all was Aramis Garcia, a second-year catcher.
Garcia said someone called him over to help out because Ferrell — who came with his own gear — needed help getting his shin guards on. The 22-year-old prospect was happy to lend a hand, and for his efforts he got a pretty cool photo to show his kids some day.
When he looks back on this first big league camp, however, Garcia will spend much more time thinking about his interactions with another star. He is the latest in a long line of young catchers to come into Giants camp and start following Buster Posey’s lead.
“You try to be a sponge,” Garcia said. “I’m learning and absorbing as much as I can.”
Posey is just 27, but he’s a veteran already, a three-time champion who has taken an active role in the development of his backups. Andrew Susac and Hector Sanchez have learned plenty of Posey’s lessons over the years, and this spring it has been Ty Ross and Garcia soaking up the tips and watching how Posey goes through drills.
“He’s always giving us pointers,” Garcia said. “On my first day day here I was hitting off a tee and he came into the cage and told me a few things about his approach. I’m basically just trying to pick his brain and learn about his approach at the plate.”
Garcia showed a pretty good approach at Florida International last spring, hitting .368 with 14 doubles, eight homers and 37 RBIs. He led Conference USA in batting average and slugging percentage (.626). After barely being recruited out of high school, Garcia was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft. The Giants liked Garcia's ability with the bat, but what really stood out was the athleticism that will allow him to stay behind the plate. They've seen how valuable catching prospects are, having traded Tommy Joseph for Hunter Pence and turned down numerous Susac suitors over the offseason.
The Giants have been aggressive about inviting young catchers to camp, and Garcia is taking advantage of his time with Posey and the other catchers who have played in the big leagues. During an early cage session, Posey gave Garcia a memory that'll might be more cherished than the moment with Ferrell.
“He told me I have a nice swing,” Garcia said, smiling.
HEALTH UPDATES: Juan Gutierrez has been here all spring, but I don’t believe I’ve mentioned him here yet. Well, turns out Gutierrez is dealing with some shoulder inflammation. He said he hopes to be back on a mound next week. Sergio Romo should be back in a game this weekend; he supposedly looked good during a live BP session.
ICYMI: Linking to this one last time: I asked Giants players if they could play all nine positions, as Ferrell did yesterday. And from this afternoon, Jake Peavy explains why he’s not worried about the rotation.
PLAY OF THE DAY: Mac Williamson made a slick diving stop in right and popped right up after his glove hand got caught under his body. Williamson has looked like his old self while returning from Tommy John surgery, and it looks like he’ll be ready for Double-A.
NOTEWORTHY: Joey Gallo, a top Rangers prospect, lived up to the hype, hitting a mammoth three-run shot off Peavy. We’ve seen Gallo twice this spring; he’s going to be a star. “That ball is still going somewhere,” manager Bruce Bochy said … Ty Blach shook off a couple rough outings and threw three shutout innings. Bochy liked how Blach kept the ball down in the zone … Bochy said Adam Duvall may play a game in the outfield soon; Duvall, a third baseman, has been taking fly balls … Nori Aoki had his second hit of the spring, a single down the left-field line. Bochy told Aoki’s translator, Kosuke Inaji, to make sure Aoki isn’t pressing. Coaches saw him in the batting cage for two hours after a recent game.