SAN FRANCISCO -- On Monday, Buster Posey played his 1,000th Major League game. Tuesday, he started on his next thousand in style.
Posey remained integral to the Giants' offense all night in their 6-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs. He launched a three-run homer in the first inning before singling, stealing second base and scoring in the eighth inning.
Games played is an often overlooked statistic. Not to Posey, who missed most of the 2011 season with multiple left leg injuries sustained in a home-plate collision.
"I always go back to when I was a kid and thinking about playing in the big leagues, so now that I've played in a thousand games, it's a cool accomplishment," Posey said. "I've seen how quickly a season can be over from injury. I don't take it for granted that I've been able to play that much."
Posey's occasional starts at first base, where he was stationed Tuesday, could help him negotiate upcoming stages of his career with greater ease. Talk of Posey permanently moving from catcher to first to preserve his legs -- and thus his offensive skills -- has all but subsided, since his value as the pitching staff's primary receiver is widely accepted.
Nevertheless, Posey's productivity when he plays first and Nick Hundley catches has been difficult to ignore. Posey's batting .444 (12-for-27) in his 18 games at first. Brandon Belt's absence due to a concussion could mean more time at first base for Posey, though Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the need to get at-bats for Pablo Sandoval and rookie Ryder Jones means that the former must play third while the latter handles first.
And that puts Posey back behind the plate. Nevertheless, Bochy admitted, Posey's work at first base "does give him a little break and keeps his legs a little fresher."
Said Posey, "It definitely is less taxing than behind the plate."
Posey felt spry enough to steal second base, which put him in position to score a key run on Brandon Crawford's single. Posey's fifth theft of the season also gave him an opportunity to renew his friendly war of words with teammates about his basestealing prowess.
"I've already been talking smack [with Crawford] about it," Posey said. "And I told [Denard] Span I'm tied with him now, so he needs to step it up."
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Posey should become the franchise's all-time leader in games caught sometime next season. He has appeared in 778 games as a catcher, trailing Wes Westrum (902), Gus Mancuso (840) and Harry "The Horse" Danning (801).
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.