SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum, that allegedly toxic pair, got a head start on fixing whatever needs to be mended in their relationship, whether it's a little or a lot.
Said by skeptics to bristle at each other as batterymates, Posey and Lincecum appeared together in a question-and-answer session during Saturday's FanFest at AT&T Park. Not a single discouraging word passed between them -- though nothing like that would happen in public, anyway.
Posey did go out of his way to praise Lincecum. Early in the program, Lincecum answered a question about his future -- which is uncertain due to his impending free agency -- before Posey blurted, without prompting, "Timmy's a gamer. He always loves pitching in big situations. ... You can't put a number on that."
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Posey brushed aside talk of a rift.
"I'll just go ahead and say it: Tim and I are friends," Posey said. "There's no issue there."
Posey rarely caught Lincecum last season, fanning rumors of discord. But manager Bruce Bochy repeated that for continuity's sake, he typically rested Posey or played him at first base when Lincecum or Barry Zito pitched. Bochy stressed that Posey and Lincecum can work together, noting that they collaborated smoothly when the right-hander thrived in relief during last year's postseason.
Lincecum acknowledged that there's room for more familiarity between him and Posey.
"That's something that I'm going to be working on this year," Lincecum said on Friday. "Obviously, we didn't throw to each other many times last year, but when we did, in the playoffs, it worked out."
Lincecum denied that his relationship with Posey is strained.
"There's nothing going on," Lincecum said. "It's just a matter who was catching that day and who Bochy would put in there."
Interestingly, both players said in response to a fan's question that if they could play another position, they'd select each other's. Posey, who pitched at Florida State University, recalled wanting to "try it on the bump," and Lincecum formerly yearned to "put on the gear," quickly adding, "I think I'd get killed."
The ease Posey and Lincecum displayed on stage was facilitated by right fielder Hunter Pence, who joined them. A couple of times, Pence provided opportunities for Posey to flash his dry sense of humor, which the outside world rarely sees.
"Buster's probably the biggest joker of all of us," Pence said.
Pence related that Posey said during the morning bus ride to the ballpark, "The only reason I miss baseball so much is I couldn't wait to make fun of all you guys."
A fan asked Lincecum and Posey to describe the effect of Pence's motivational speeches during last year's postseason. After Pence jumped in with an explanation, Posey said, "I thought that question was for me and Timmy."
Posey also showed his own wry side. In a discussion about Marco Scutaro's superior offensive production, Posey said, "What stood out the most is [that] this guy's 45 years old."
When a fan observed that third baseman Pablo Sandoval talks a lot, Posey offered his own view: "Pablo doesn't talk a lot. Pablo yells a lot."
Lincecum also contributed to the show's spirit. After Pence delivered an exaggerated imitation of Lincecum's windup, swinging his left leg and corkscrewing his arm backward, Lincecum responded with his own version of Pence's batting stance.
Lincecum wasn't among the Giants who taped imitations of Pence for the Giants' World Series DVD, but he demonstrated what he would have done by springing from his chair to take a wide stance, wiggling his torso and bugging out his eyes Pence-style as the audience dissolved into laughter.
Inevitably, Lincecum was asked about his new, neat haircut. He confessed that the reality of having short hair for the first time since 2008 stunned him somewhat.
"When it was on the ground," he said, "I couldn't put it back."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.