Bochy to face tough task of determining Posey's playing time


Bochy to face tough task of determining Posey's playing time

SCOTTSDALE, Az. -- The hook of the day is that Bruce Bochy has told Buster Posey not to block home plate. The sidebar is that he is going to help train Posey how to do it anyway.I mean, you never know, right, the manager said in his office while his catcher was holding his first State Of The Squat address in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium. Id like him to have all those fundamentals down by the time we leave here, because you cant always avoid those situations.This is one of the many dichotomies the team faces with Posey as he transitions from star in the making to invalid to star in the remaking. The Giants, and specifically Bochy, are charged with helping restore Posey while learning just how much rope to give him in that restoration, and how much to hold fast.Posey, you see, wants to play yesterday, to see if he is his old pre-May 25 self. Bochy does, too, but he acknowledges he has never really had a case like this in his career.

You have someone whos very important to the club, obviously, and hes very intelligent about the way he goes about his job and the way he handled his rehab, but hes going through something hes never been through before, Bochy said. You want to make sure that hes not going to try and hurry his way back, that hes not going to jeopardize that by trying to be a warrior.That said, Bochys job on that score is easy so far. It will get more difficult.Right now, were all taking our lead from the medical people and the training staff, he said. Theyre in charge of how much he should play and rest, and monitoring how hes doing, and all that. Right now, theres no pressure on me.But thats going to change once hes been given full clearance. Thats when Im going to be the guy who has to make those decisions about when to give him a day, or when to push him. Thats when its on me.Bochy said he doesnt anticipate a problem keeping a governor on Posey, or convincing him that a day off here or there is a good thing. But Posey said Sunday he wants to play in the first exhibition game March 3, and Bochy is being cagier about it.Were going to see where were at, he said. He and I have talked about this, and we agreed that yeah, he wants to play right away, but we dont have to make that decision today.Bochy having been a catcher has a level of simpatico with Posey that many managers wouldnt necessarily have, but that rule isnt universal. Indeed, some managers who are ex-catchers, like the Angels Mike Scioscia, would almost certainly want Posey blocking the plate every chance he got because that is how Scioscia made his reputation as a player.But Bochys experience is like Poseys in that he hurt his knee early in his minor league career, and wound up missing a much greater amount of time because of the relatively primitive state of rehabilitation knowledge.Id play nine innings, and I think that I was good, but then Id be sore for two or three days, he said. I had no strength in my leg, and it took a long time to get that back. Buster doesnt have that problem.No, Poseys problem is really restricted to returning to his former state as the Giants most important hitter and the catcher the pitching staff lines up to throw to meaning his days off will come with a concurrent groan from that day's starter.His secondary issue is in acknowledging that his return to catching is also the beginning of a slow, almost molecular-level move toward another position. He has already plotted out the outfield as not his cup of meat, saying, Im too slow for the outfield . . . well, (Pat) Burrell played out there.But for the moment, he is working with the knowledge that his comeback is in the hands of many people, most notably the manager who grappled with his absence last year in what might in many ways have been the worst year of his managerial life.Worst, in part, because Posey left a void that was never close to being filled. And now the plan is for this year to be better as long as Posey doesnt decide to take the enemy gun emplacement by himself, or that Bochy realizes that Posey in the lineup is always better than him not in the lineup, and can say Youre off today when Youre off today is the correct answer rather than the answer that satisfies.

In Bay Area, bad teams get dismissed in most passive-aggressive way of all


In Bay Area, bad teams get dismissed in most passive-aggressive way of all

There is no reason for us to waste your time by selling you on the last week of the baseball season. Being in the playoffs, or on their edge, makes the first 24 weeks well worth the slog, as you all remember from 2014 and as Giants fans remember from last year.

But for those towns in which doom has already been applied – say, like Oakland and San Francisco, just to name two we can drive to – the baseball season died awhile ago. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge and Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber and the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals – they are all a gray, indistinct blur that doesn’t touch us all that much.

As a result, all the notions in the middle of the decade that this is actually a baseball area turned out to be wrong again. What we are – what we have always been – is a great place for front-running.

Just like almost every other town in America.

There are few towns where this is untrue. St. Louis for the Cardinals, Green Bay for the Packers, Pittsburgh for the Steelers, Toronto for the Maple Leafs, Dallas for the Cowboys, Philadelphia for the Eagles, Los Angeles for the Lakers – they all maintain their audiences in good times and bad, both through hinders in seats and eyes on sets.

Here, though, bad teams get dismissed in the most passive-aggressive way of all. We stop attending, watching or talking about them and find other things to do with ourselves, which I would suggest is probably the healthier way to approach entertainment that doesn’t entertain. And because we are also incredibly provincial, we won’t pay attention to those people who are enjoying the week because in our collective world view, any party we’re not at is just people milling about.

But healthier isn’t always the same as viscerally better. Ignoring the Giants’ ferocious battle with Philadelphia for the first draft pick next year, and marveling at the invisibility of the A’s late-season winning just isn’t as much of a hoot when there are so many teams standing on their necks.

Anyway, there are six more days and then the playoffs begin, and they’ll be fascinating because pennant races always are. You'll all be missed.


Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

Hundley still not ready to discuss future; Cain to start during final weekend

PHOENIX — A few weeks ago, Nick Hundley said he preferred not to talk about his future until the end of the season. We’re close enough, so after hitting the go-ahead homer Monday night, Hundley was again asked about his 2018 plans. He smiled.

“How many have we got left? Five?” he said. “Ask me Sunday.”

It’s not just the media and fans seeking an answer from the popular backup who has nine homers. The Giants hope to get some feel from Hundley as they finalize offseason plans, and manager Bruce Bochy said he would talk to the veteran this week. Bochy left no doubt about what he hopes will happen.

“I think he knows what we think of him,” he said. 

Hundley, a 34-year-old who came over in the offseason, has been one of the few overachievers this season. He has 32 extra-base hits in 274 at-bats, taking advantage of increased time with Brandon Belt done for the year and Buster Posey sliding over to first base. Hundley is one of the lineup’s more potent right-handed options, and he has earned praise from the starting staff. Johnny Cueto said Hundley helped him navigate a post-clinch Diamondbacks lineup that was essentially pulled straight out of Triple-A. 

Cueto did so with ease, striking out eight in six innings. He evened his record at 8-8, and he’ll have a chance to clinch a winning season on Sunday. Bochy said Cueto will start the final game of the season, and he confirmed that Matt Cain will start either Friday or Saturday. Asked for more details, the manager kept it just as mysterious as his catcher. 

“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” he said.