Bochy: Posey's time behind plate about to pick up


Bochy: Posey's time behind plate about to pick up

SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy has taken greatcare to pace Buster Posey through this season. But now the homestretch isnearing, and its time to flash the spurs.

Not only is Posey starting behind the plate for Wednesdaysmatinee following a Tuesday night game, but hes catching Tim Lincecum abruising assignment that Bochy has tried to inflict more often on HectorSanchez in recent weeks.

The Giants have a day off Thursday, so thats part of theconsideration. Another: Brandon Belt is on an absolute tear, so putting Poseyat first base isnt such an easy call.

My guess is he wont be there as much, Bochy said of Poseythe first baseman.

Speaking generally, Bochy said Posey would be receivingfewer days off behind the plate the rest of the way

Hell be out there as much as possible without wearing himdown here these next two or three weeks, Bochy said. We have to be smartabout this. We want him out there as much as we can. When you get down to thispoint in the schedule, hopefully youve taken care of your players, especiallyyour starting catcher. But you have to watch them, too. If they need a break,youve got to give them a break.

A break in the schedule is finally arriving. The Giants onWednesday are playing their 20th game in 20 days; they havent had aday off since July 26.

Thursday marks the first of five days off on the schedulethe rest of the way. Thatll help Bochy keep Posey reasonably fresh despiteincreased playing time.

It also helps that the Giants are done with hot-weathercities. They only cross the Mississippi one more time, when they play atWrigley Field over Labor Day weekend and its been cool of late in Chicago.Theyll have the benefit of air conditioning in places like Houston andArizona. And its always cool at Petco Park and at night in Chavez Ravine, thetwo venues where the Giants travel next.

In other pregame news, Bochy said Santiago Casillas blisterissue appears to have subsided and the club is hoping its behind thehard-throwing right hander. Asked pointedly whether Casilla could regain thecloser role, Bochy didnt rule it out. But he said the plan was to stay with acommittee of Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez to get the final sixouts, all subject to late-inning matchups.

Theres a framed picture on the wall in Bochys officeshowing Guillermo Mota dumping a bucket of ice on the skippers head. Bochysaid he looks forward to seeing Mota again soon.

The recent draftees and teenagers in the Arizona RookieLeague were glad to have Mota around when he threw 1 13 innings in a rehabassignment Tuesday.

He bought them all steak dinners, Bochy said.

Mota, who is serving a 100-gam suspension for testingpositive for a banned substance, is eligible to return Aug. 28.

A couple weeks ago, I heard (off the record) that the Giantswould visit new Yankee Stadium for the first time as part of the 2013 schedule.In fact, the tentative schedule calls for them to spend an entire week in NewYork in September playing the Yankees and Mets back-to-back.

Now the word is out, and the Red Soxare on the schedule to visit AT&T Park, too.

The schedule is subject to change and hasnt been approvedyet. Usually teams release it in mid-September or so. Its never too early tolook for Manhattan hotel deals (or lack thereof).

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

What they're saying: 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez Wednesday. Here's what they and their peers are saying.

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

Still on outside, Bonds, Clemens have become invaluable to Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame becomes yesterday’s news Friday, as it always does. Three months of buildup, one day to announce the names, one day to castigate the voters for their willfully negligent slights, and then nine months of hibernation.

So much for the concept of “joining the immortals.”

But at least Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez never have to go through this annual pageant of nonsense again.

Barry Bonds does, though, and so does Roger Clemens, and to a lesser extent, so does Curt Schilling. They are the new litmus strips for the Hall, and they will more than replace Raines (voter ignorance division) and Bagwell (presumption of guilt with evidence division) for self-involved debate.

And in that adjusted role from doomed outsiders to serious candidates, Bonds and Clemens – and to a lesser extent again, Schilling – have become invaluable to the Hall, and their eventual election and induction will reduce the Hall’s ability to inflame passions outside the seamhead community.

On a day when Bagwell and Raines finally cleared the 75 percent threshold and Bonds and Clemens moved from 45 percent to 53.8 and 54.1 percent, respectively, the Hall of Fame Debating And Chowder Society saw the end times for its power as a multi-month debate-churner.

The blatherers are dead, long live the blatherers.

An entire mini-industry of Hall watchers has been spawned, in part by the now-feted Ryan Thibodaux and his exit polling but also by the debates about what the Hall should be and who should get to decide it. It has made days like Wednesday event viewing when it hadn’t been for years. For that, the Hall owes Bonds and Clemens a debt that the powers inside Major League Baseball wishes it didn’t have to pay. But the day they are inducted is the day that PEDs die as a debating point. The answer will have been provided, and there will be no more need for discussion.

Worse yet, the BBWAA’S new voter transparency rules may unfortunately impact our pal Thibodaux, whose seminal work in this understudied area of social science undermined ballot secrecy. In short, if everyone has to fess up, the desperate need to know early returns may dry up.

Oh, there will always be the day of post mortem-ization, as those who didn’t clear the threshold are subject to a few rounds of the popular parlor game, “Who Got Snubbed, And The Tedious And Half-Informed Reasons Why.”

For instance, the big debating point from today’s results will not be about Raines and Guerrero getting in, but what happened to the Bonds and Clemens votes. People have already postulated that a lot of the jump in their respective votes can be directly linked to Bud Selig’s election from the Veterans Committee. Voters who had previously ridden the Hall-as-temple argument suddenly lost their raison d’etre and realized that the PED problem was an industry matter rather than a greedy players’ matter.

In short, they saw Selig getting in as tacit approval that the PED issue was no longer a moral one in baseball but a cynical one, a way to blame labor for management’s culpability. That is an irony whose existence Selig will almost surely deny, but it’s there anyway, and it represents one more non-glacial change in a system that has been nearly immovable for most of its existence.

The next change, of course, may be removing the vote from the BBWAA and turning it over to a more malleable panel of “experts” who may not skew as young and values-neutral as the BBWAA of the future seems to be heading. That course may be hastened if/when Bonds and Clemens are elected, because halls of fame in their more traditional role have been more about rewarding friends and punishing enemies, and a large and shifting electorate makes that harder to accomplish.

The argument against such a course, though, is that the current system of three months of fevered public debate about the same old stuff works for the Hall’s sense of its importance. I mean, MLB Network and its fetish for shrill argument only has so much reach.

By Friday, though, all of this will revert to its typically inert state. Bonds, Clemens (ATALE Schilling), PEDs, morality, practicality, secrecy, old voter/young voter – all of it will fade back into insignificance.

And in a year or two or maybe three, Bonds and Clemens will wipe it all out by being included in the one club that we once knew would never tolerate their presence, and the Hall Of Fame’s Golden Age Of Shrieking Argument will end.

In a weird and largely unpleasant way, it will be missed.