With Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants being out for the rest of the season due to a hip injury which required surgery, let’s take a look back at the last time Buster had an injury that ended his season and how he was able to bounce back.
The year was 2011. The San Francisco Giants were coming off their first World Series championship ever. Things were good; they found themselves in the lead of the National League West. Then the unthinkable occurred.
On May 25th, Buster Posey, 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, was plowed at the plate by Scott Cousins of the (then) Florida Marlins.
It was devastating. I don’t need to recount all of the harrowing details, for we lived them once which is already one time too many.
Buster had surgery on his ankle and was done for the year. Despite mid-season additions like Carlos Beltran and Jeff Keppinger (remember that dude?) the Giants weren’t able to will their way to the playoffs for a second consecutive year without their star catcher.
No one knew how he was going to look when he came back the following year. We all saw how gruesome the injury was as he writhed around in pain near home plate. Would he be the same player as he was before the injury?
No. He’d be better.
He returned with a vengeance, playing in 148 games and batting .336, hitting 24 home runs, and taking home National League MVP honors. It was one of the more remarkable comeback years in recent memory, and, of course, it propelled the Giants to their second World Series title in 3 years.
Now, in 2018, Buster is on the shelf yet again. Not in such a dramatic way this time, as his hip injury appeared to be bothering him for quite some time. But nonetheless, it’s another surgery for the face of the Giants franchise.
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It’s remarkable that in 2011 Buster was batting .284 with 4 home runs when he got hurt and in 2018 he was batting .284 as well but with 5 home runs (albeit in 105 games compared to 45 in 2011). However, beyond the statistics, these injuries and their recovery times could not be more different.
The 2011 surgery was estimated to sideline him for 4-6 months. With the injury occurring in May, this provided ample time for him to be ready for Spring Training the following year.
With this year’s surgery taking place in late August and an estimated recovery time of 6-8 months, it’s not a given that he’ll be ready for Spring Training or even Opening Day in San Diego.
Two World Series rings richer, and seven years older, how will Posey rebound from his most recent surgery? This depends on many things.
First, how much will he play, and second where will he play? The Giants have decisions to make this offseason with regards to names like Brandon Belt, but with Aramis Garcia still being young and unproven, Joey Bart not yet ready, and Nick Hundley not being all that great, I don’t think the Giants are going to stick Buster at first next year, at least not full time.
It’s impossible to predict how his body will hold up if he indeed does recover fully and spends another year as the starting man behind the dish. With his power numbers steadily declining (in part due to the hip injury) I doubt we’re going to see a 2012-like MVP performance where he sets the world on fire at the plate.
But I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see Buster go out there next year and hit over .300 with 15 or so home runs. The man is a competitor and he’s going to want to prove that he’s still got something left in the tank.
So don’t expect the Ghost of Buster Past to possess him and make him the player he once was next year. Instead, expect a Buster Posey who’s on a mission to prove everyone wrong. He has done it before. Who’s to say he can’t do it again?