USA Today Sports
NASHVILLE - Tuesday afternoon at baseball's Winter Meetings, Bruce Bochy spent 30 minutes answering questions from a gaggle of writers (including this one). He answered with the fulsomeness of a man who's managed two World Series winners in the last three years ... which Bochy has.
A few highlights ...
I asked Bochy about the aftermath of Buster Posey's devastating injury in 2011, and how Bochy -- a tough-as-nails catcher, back in his playing days -- worked with Posey to avoid another big collision in 2012.
"We worked on plays at the plate quite a bit in spring training," Bochy said. "We didn't want him out in front of the plate."
Posey, of course, made a brilliant comeback, capped with a Most Valuable Player Award.
And what about Baseball actually doing something to prevent Posey-like injuries?
"I talked to Tony La Russa about that just today ... I still think the rules should be tweaked a little bit."
That's all it would take: a little bit. It wouldn't be difficult to devise a rule prohibiting a base runner from avoiding the plate in favor of running into the catcher. The fact that such a rule doesn't yet exist is largely a testament to the traditionalist natures of people like Joe Torre and Tony La Russa. I will note that those two are not fundamentalists or originalists; baseball as originally designed did not allow for violent collisions at the home plate.Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Bruce Bochy discussed his San Francisco Giants, winners of two World Series in the last three years.
On the possibility of some younger players being blocked by veterans next season: "To be honest, I don't feel we'll be holding somebody back. Not in Triple-A now, or even a year from now."
This is almost undoubtedly true. The Giants' talent pipeline has largely dried up. They don't have a single hitting prospect who projects as a major-league regular. And while the Giants have some fine pitching prospects, none of them have pitched a single inning above Class A. So Bochy's right: What we've seen is mostly what we're going to get, especially with the re-signing of Marco Scutaro.
I asked Bochy if he was happy with the idea of Brandon Belt as his Opening Day first baseman. I asked because (as you might recall) Bochy seemed slow to warm to Belt as an every-day player, in both 2011 and '12.
"He got rushed," Bochy responded. "But he made some adjustments [in 2012] that allowed him to get to some pitches he wasn't."
Belt was fantastic in June, terrible in July, and excellent in August and September. What's important is that Belt seems to have earned Bochy's confidence, and thus seems to be the Giants' default choice at first base heading into next season.
On his relationship with general manager Brian Sabean: "I couldn't be more fortunate to have Brian Sabean as my boss ... He's more than a boss; he's a friend ... We live in the same building, so we spend hours together, whether at the ballpark or not."