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02/16/09 7:21 PM EST

Bocock inherits Vizquel's No. 13

Giants rookie honored by veteran's request to pass on number

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brian Bocock got that I'm-not-worthy feeling when he arrived at Giants camp, looked for the name plate above his dressing stall and found that he had been assigned No. 13.

That, of course, was the number worn for the previous four years by Omar Vizquel, the 11-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop who's now with the Texas Rangers. As it turns out, Vizquel wanted Bocock to inherit his number.

Mike Murphy, San Francisco's revered clubhouse manager, explained that he maintained contact with Vizquel through the offseason, though it was apparent that the 41-year-old free agent would not rejoin the Giants. One day, Murphy related, Vizquel mentioned his jersey number and said, "Give it to the kid." That meant Bocock, who was named last year's Opening Day shortstop and played 32 games for the Giants after Vizquel opened the season on the disabled list with a left knee injury.

"When I first got here, I said, 'Murph, thanks a lot. Those are big shoes to fill,'" said Bocock, who still qualifies for rookie status. Bocock's apprehension turned to appreciation once he learned that Vizquel engineered the move.

Without a trace of boastfulness, Bocock said that Vizquel appraised his defensive skills favorably, which might have prompted the veteran's gesture.

"He told me not to change anything with the way I fielded, because he liked it, I guess," said Bocock, who wore No. 29 last year. "It's a pretty neat story. I'd obviously never expect anybody to do that, but it's definitely neat. I'll remember it forever."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.