Home Sports Casali ‘shed a tear’ for Giants return, wanted to go out on his terms

Casali ‘shed a tear’ for Giants return, wanted to go out on his terms

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Casali ‘shed a tear' for Giants return, wanted to go out on his terms

Casali ‘shed a tear’ for the Giants’ return, he wanted to leave on his terms originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — During his two years as a Giant, Curt Casali was a popular subject for photoshops prepared by Abe Silvestri, senior director of team operations for the organization. When Casali returned on Wednesday, Silvestri was ready. In Casali’s locker was a small poster for the movie “American Reunion” with his face photoshopped in the mix.

The Giants got his former backup catcher back, covering at least one need in a squad that seems to generate new leaks in every game. Casali came directly into the lineup, in part because he is already familiar with starter Logan Webb and partly because there is no doubt that he is the Giants’ best defensive option. while Patrick Bailey is sidelined.

Casali, a Giant in 2021 and 2022, had problems with the Cincinnati Reds last season and during the winter he had to deal with a reality that affects all players at some point. The 35-year-old player began to think about life after being a catcher, and it wouldn’t have taken him much to get along with the management or coaching staff. Like many veteran catchers, Casali has “future manager” written all over him.

But he didn’t want to quit just yet and the Chicago Cubs gave him the opportunity to go to Triple-A Iowa. With a buyout option in his contract this week, Casali became an attractive option for the Giants. He played Tuesday night in a Triple-A game in Syracuse, New York, and then received a text message telling him to pack his bags.

“I think I probably shed a tear,” Casali said. “Coming back here is like coming home. I had some of the best years of my life in professional baseball here, some of the best friends are still here. Not many people get to do it again. I’m very, very grateful.”

Casali was discouraged about being marketed in 2022, but he stayed in touch with former Giants teammates and staff and admitted Wednesday that he was still following him closely this season. He knew returning was a possibility after Tom Murphy was injured, and when Bailey returned to the concussion injured list on Tuesday, the Giants really found themselves in a bind.

Blake Sabol and Jakson Reetz formed the catching duo for the first two games of this series, but Sabol is still relatively raw defensively and Reetz had a couple of very difficult at-bats on Monday.

The Giants are unsure when they will get Bailey back, as his concussion symptoms persist. Murphy was placed on the 60-day injured list, meaning he will be out at least until July. Casali fills a big need as a reliable and responsible defender of the game. It’s an added bonus that his OPS in Triple-A was over 1.000.

“I didn’t feel like being told I was done. I’d rather go out on my own terms,” ​​Casali said about playing this season. “The universe is funny. If you get the chance, take it. Fortunately I was playing well enough to force someone’s hand, and again I’m grateful I’m not ready for that (next) phase of my life yet.”

Manager Bob Melvin said he has always admired Casali on the other side, noting that he is someone who commands respect and will help the Giants’ pitchers stay on the same page.

“A lot of the things you want out of that position, he does very well,” Melvin said. “I know our guys, especially the ones who have been with him before, are excited for him to be here.”

The clubhouse staff hit Casali with a shower of confetti when he walked in – “it scared the hell out of me,” he said – and many former teammates came up to hug him. Mike Yastrzemski, one of Casali’s close friends, was way ahead in the information department. Casali waited until he finished Tuesday’s game in San Francisco to connect with Yastrzemski, who responded with a text containing a series of excited insults.

Casali will bat ninth on Wednesday and catch Webb for the 18th time in his career. The rest of this starting staff will be new to him, but he has caught some of the relievers and it won’t take him long to get up to speed. Casali wanted to start working, and even with a long flight on Wednesday, he told Melvin that he was ready to start.

“It’s been a long day for him and I said, ‘Are you okay?’ He said, ‘Are you kidding me? It’s the big leagues,'” Melvin said. “I’ve had younger kids on two-hour flights saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe how tired I am.’ So, it’s the right frame of mind and he’s a catcher. We like catchers.”

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