Buster Posey back in a deep Giants lineup for Opening Night

SEATTLE – After a season away from the game, Buster Posey is back in the Giants’ lineup, and he finds himself batting lower in the order than usual.

Posey is hitting seventh Thursday against Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales, rather than in the middle of the order – which is really an indication of the strength of the lineup overall rather than any indictment of Posey, who is among the Giants’ all-time greats.

“I think it’s a pretty deep lineup,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “ Last year, at this time, I think we had a high level of confidence in our lineup against left-handed pitching. This year, I think we can say the same against right-handed pitching. It just provides a lot of confidence to see Donovan Solano hitting in the 3 hole and, carrying that through, Buster hitting seven. We’re talking about a perennial All-Star and a Hall of Fame-caliber player. It just speaks to the depth of the lineup that we can throw out there against left-handed pitching.”

Is a conversation needed when a player as high-profile as Posey is shifted down the order? “I think Buster is is a true professional in every sense of the word,” Kapler said. “Our players understand that, in particular this year, if you’re batting a little bit lower in the lineup, it’s because somebody’s really capable is hitting a spot higher.”

Last season was Kapler’s first as the Giants manager, so Thursday was his first chance to put Posey down on the lineup card after Posey chose to sit out last year during the pandemic because he and his wife, Kristen, had just adopted twin girls who were born prematurely.

“It provides a lot of confidence for our entire group to write Buster Posey’s name into a lineup and to know that he’s going to be leading our pitching staff,” Kapler said.

For the 15th consecutive year – corresponding with the end of the Barry Bonds Era – the Giants have a different left-fielder for the opener, with Austin Slater getting the call at the former Safeco Field, batting leadoff. Kapler said he’s not sure how unusual that might be, but said he’d heard about it.

The lineup, with Kevin Gausman on the mound for San Francisco:

Austin Slater – LF

Mike Yastrzemski – RF

Donovan Solano – 2B

Evan Longoria – 3B

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