Posey instructed not to block home plate
Backstop trying to return from broken leg suffered in collision
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- What's fundamental for most catchers is forbidden for Buster Posey.Hoping to preserve Posey's health, which was shattered by the horrific left leg injuries he sustained in a home-plate collision last May 25, manager Bruce Bochy has advised his talented receiver to avoid blocking the plate against oncoming baserunners. "I'll take this out of Buster's hands," Bochy said. "As a manager, that's my job. I certainly don't want people to think he's backing off on his own. It's something we'll work on with him this spring." Posey readily accepted Bochy's mandate, though he admitted that adjustments will be necessary. He pointed out that he actually was situated in front of the plate -- the side facing the pitcher's mound -- when Florida's Scott Cousins plowed into him on that fateful night at AT&T Park. The toll on Posey was three torn ligaments in his ankle and a broken bone in his lower leg.
"That's the dicey part, I guess, is figuring where you've got to be to somewhat avoid that," Posey said. "I have to be instinctual. That's the way I play the game. I try to play off instincts. Some of those instincts come off your preparation and that's why we're going to put in a lot of work this spring."Bochy, a former Major League catcher, will eagerly help Posey shift his positioning and learn the art of the swipe tag.
"There are ways to make the tag without putting yourself in jeopardy," Bochy said.Bochy reiterated that he'd like to see Major League Baseball establish rule changes to protect catchers from the human missiles disguised as baserunners. The concept is similar to football's fair-catch rule. So far, Bochy has received no encouraging signs from baseball officials that changes will be made. Asked if he thought any rules might someday be instituted to help him and other catchers, Posey replied, "I don't know. I'm going to leave that to those people who make those decisions on the rules and we'll see. Your guess is as good as mine." The Giants are taking other measures to preserve the health of Posey, the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year. He is catching pitchers' bullpen-throwing stints only every other day, the better to avoid wear and tear on his leg. Bochy also has said that Posey, who started 30 games at first base in 2010, would likely spend some time there again. "I've got to stay as productive as possible, whether that means taking a [rest] here or there or playing first every once in a while, whatever that may be," Posey said. "The goal, I think, is still to catch as many games as I can."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.