SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On a late October morning, Buster Posey's comeback from a traumatic left leg injury turned a corner. Several of them, in fact. And symbolically, as well as literally. Starting off in foul territory about 15 feet behind first base on a diamond at Indian School Park, the San Francisco Giants' Minor League facility, Posey ran an arc on the perimeter of the infield to the third-base foul line, veering left on his surgically repaired leg and ankle. He paused a few minutes, than retraced the course, turning right. Posey repeated the pattern several times, key steps on his recovery from the complex May 29 surgery to repair the damage -- broken bone, three torn ankle ligaments -- resulting from being leveled on May 26 on a play at home plate by Florida's Scott Cousins.
"I've been running straight, but this was the first time I tested it running corners," Posey said Monday, after concluding his daily three-hour workout under the watchful eyes of Giants head trainer Dave Groeschner. "I was out there turning a lot. I thought it went well. No problems." More good news for the Giants and their fans, who, less than two months into their defense of a World Series title, were slammed into dismay when Cousins slammed into Posey. Likewise, Posey's season as the National League's reigning Rookie of the Year ended abruptly in his 45th game. Everything from that point forward has focused on 2012 and a slate wiped clean of pain and frustration. Exactly one year ago, Posey was hitting an eighth-inning home run to punctuate a 4-0 Halloween victory over Texas at Rangers Ballpark, setting up the next-day clincher of the Giants' first World Series title since 1954 and New York. Now, in the wake of another World Series, he nears the end of a grueling month and a half in Arizona, 45 days of batting practice, exercise and agility workouts which have tested him. And ultimately, pleased him. "Overall, I'm really happy," Posey said. "I'd say I'm about four, five weeks ahead of where I thought I'd be at this point. To be at this point five months removed from the injury ... I feel really good about that." Posey's intense Arizona rehabilitation will soon end. On Nov. 5, he and his wife, Kristen, and their 2 1/2-month-old twins, Lee and Addison, will leave their temporary Arizona apartment and move back to Georgia. "All along, the game plan was to leave by the beginning on November," said Posey, for whom the homecoming will be an important milestone in the mental phase of his rehab. "From that point on, I want to have as normal an offseason as possible," Posey said. That will mean the routine conditioning stuff he has always done between seasons -- with the addition of a physical therapist overlooking the strengthening drills "I couldn't do on my own." In a few weeks, Posey will be right back here -- well, to be precise, a mile and a half southwest of here, in Scottsdale Stadium with the rest of the Giants, embarking on the Cactus League schedule. To anyone recovering from a serious injury, that initial game-action is the true Holy Grail. "I am anxious for that first Spring Training game, and the chance to test it out," Posey said. "All the simulated games aren't the same. You don't really know how it'll be when the adrenaline starts pumping, what kind of stress there will be on the joint. "But," Posey added, "I feel confident. I'm starting to feel pretty good, and we all have a lot to look forward to." With that, Posey returned to the field, for more running exercises. This time, he ran backwards, which was not symbolic of his direction.