Bochy's quest for catcher rule change hits a major snag


Bochy's quest for catcher rule change hits a major snag

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy remains passionate about a rule change that would protect catchers from being targeted in home-plate collisions.

But his quest just hit a major roadblock. Major League Baseball announced today that Joe Torre would rejoin the commissioner's office as vice president of on-field operations, a post that he had resigned last year to explore becoming part of an ownership group to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now Torre is back as the league's discipline and rules czar. And he is not a proponent of rules changes that would legislate against home-plate collisions when a runner has a lane to slide.
Torre took several of Bochy's phone calls after the night of May 25, when Buster Posey broke his fibula and tore three ankle ligaments after getting toppled over by Florida Marlins rookie Scott Cousins. But Torre did not recommend that the rules committee take up the matter at the winter meetings.
Well, listen, I knew it was more emotional than anything else, Torre told me at the winter meetings in Dallas. None of us like to see that. But I really havent heard anything that would encourage me to change anything or recommend a change. Being a catcher for a lot of years, I knew what the consequences were.Bochy was undeterred. He and Giants vice president Bobby Evans spoke informally with other managers and club officials at the winter meetings, trying to build some grassroots consensus. Bochy said at least four or five managers agreed a change was warranted.

One of them was retiring St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who was rumored to be a candidate for Torre's position. Instead, Bochy will find himself in the same place going forward, trying to convince Torre to consider a change.
Ill continue to push for it, Bochy told me in December. Sure, Im disappointed. But its going to take other managers also getting involved, and some of them believe it does need to be changed. Its something Ill still pursue.Although most players acknowledge that Cousins was playing to the scoreboard and operating within baseball's codes when he slammed his right shoulder into Posey in the 12th inning of a tie game, the collision remains a controversial topic. Cousins had a clear lane to the plate but chose to take out Posey instead of slide.Bochy would like a rule that establishes a safe area, a neutral zone, whatever you want to call it, where (the catcher) is protected particularly if hes taking a throw from right field and is vulnerable.Youll have collisions at home plate. You cant take that away, Bochy continued. But its protecting the catcher when hes vulnerable. It shouldnt take something really terrible to happen before something gets done. We need to change this. These runners are getting bigger, stronger and faster.Bochy said he isn't just looking out for Posey. He has seen too many catchers get blitzed at the plate in his fur decades in baseball. When he managed the San Diego Padres, Bochy watched Gary Bennett's shoulder get crushed by an onrushing Brian Jordan -- a former NFL All-Pro defensive back. Bochy got popped several times in his playing career, too, including a notable collision with Pete Rose in the 1980 NLCS that included a forearm to Bochy's jaw.
I dont want to see this referred to as a Buster Posey rule, Bochy said. This has happened before. Its time to make a change for the good of the game.Torre, himself a former catcher, is more accepting that collisions are part of the game and dangerous for all involved -- not just the guy with a chest protector and shinguards.
People have pointed out, He was given a piece of the plate to slide to. And thats true, he was, Torre said. But once (Posey) catches the ball, as a runner, you know that piece is gone. Hes going to block it.That play was not Busters fault. Hes trying to receive the ball, retain it, and here comes the runner. He had committed to break up the play.In November, general managers discussed instituting a no-collision rule in exhibition games but it didn't come to fruition. Just the other day in minor league camp, Hector Sanchez blocked the plate on an A's minor leaguer as he tried to score.Torre told me in December that he plans to be diplomatic about further dialogue, even if his mind is basically made up on the issue.Well continue to listen, Torre said. Ill listen to anything that makes sense, and you know if it comes from people like them (Bochy and GM Brian Sabean), they always make a lot of sense. So Ill listen.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 9-4 win over Marlins


SAN FRANCISCO — The main event Tuesday night in Miami was Madison Bumgarner vs. Giancarlo Stanton. After that was over, the Giants got to work. 

Carlos Moncrief, pinch-hitting for Bumgarner, sparked a three-run rally in the seventh as the Giants ran away with a 9-4 win over the Marlins. Moncrief’s RBI single tied the game and his aggressive base running led to the go-ahead run on a Stanton error. 

Here are five things to know from the second night in Miami, with an emphasis on two large gentlemen … 

—- Round 1 of Bumgarner-Stanton probably should have ended with a homer. Bumgarner started Stanton off with a cutter low, and then went way high for ball two. Another cutter nicked the inside of the plate for a strike. On 2-1, Bumgarner threw a 90 mph fastball that leaked over the heart of the plate. Stanton smoked it into left, but just for a single. 

—- Round 2 ended with Stanton homering for the 44th time this season, and sixth consecutive game. Bumgarner started the at-bat with a good curveball for a strike, but he got burned when he tried to go down in the dirt with a cutter. Buster Posey put his glove down a couple inches above the plate but the cutter never got down. Stanton crushed it 442 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph. He watched it fly, and Bumgarner watched him run to first. 

—- Bumgarner won Round 3. Stanton fouled off a fastball and swung through a cutter on the way to 3-2. Bumgarner threw a hard curveball at Stanton’s back foot and he whiffed. 

—- Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich were 6-for-6 against Bumgarner coming into the fifth. He struck them all out in order that inning. Overall, Bumgarner gave up four earned on nine hits in six innings. He struck out four. Bumgarner also had an RBI single off the wall. 

—- Mark Melancon’s stuff has taken a step up since he returned. He hit 93 mph and threw a handful of sharp curveballs while getting through the seventh against the top of Miami’s lineup.

Joe Panik joins Brandon Belt on 7-day concussion DL


Joe Panik joins Brandon Belt on 7-day concussion DL

One entire side of the Giants infield is now on the concussion disabled list.

Second baseman Joe Panik was placed on the 7-day DL Tuesday, joining first baseman Brandon Belt.

Panik took a hard tag to the face during the second game of Sunday's doubleheader against the Nationals.

The move is retoractive to August 14.

Infielder Orlando Calixte was recalled to take Panik's spot on the roster.

This is the second time in two years that Panik has landed on the disabled list with a concussion. Last July, then-Rays pitcher Matt Moore plunked Panik in the head with a pitch. It took 10 days before the Giants would place their second baseman on the DL. This time, it took just two days.