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Blog Entry

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Posted on: May 26, 2011 11:36 am
Edited on: May 26, 2011 3:58 pm

By Evan Brunell

Buster Posey's collision with Scott Cousins on Wednesday fractured a bone in his lower left leg, delivering a devastating blow to the Giants.

In addition to a broken leg, Posey is thought to have torn ligaments as well,  as CSN Bay Area reports. The Giants later announced that Chris Stewart has been recalled to take Posey's place, with Brandon Belt also joining the roster along with Brandon Crawford.

Posey's broken leg could heal in one-to-two months, a time span common for a broken leg. However, broken legs can mean a wide range of severity, and the complication of torn ligaments makes a possible ETA for a return that much more murky. Some players return from a broken leg inside two months. Others miss almost two full seasons, as Kendrys Morales of the Angels can attest. It would surprise no one if Posey was done for the season, but let's exercise some restraint and wait for further clarification. He will undergo a MRI Thursday that should clarify the issue, although in Pablo Sandoval's mind, the issue's already been clarified.

"Good morning I feel so bad because we lost buster for rest of the season it's gonna be hard with out him," Sandoval tweeted on Thursday.

Posey's agent, Jeff Berry, said he was planning on calling Joe Torre, the new leader of on-field operations, in the hopes of changing the rules that allow runners to barrel into catchers.

"You leave players way too vulnerable," Berry said. "I can tell you Major League Baseball is less than it was before [Posey's injury]. It's stupid. I don't know if this ends up leading to a rule change, but it should. The guy [at the plate] is too exposed.

"If you go helmet to helmet in the NFL, it's a $100,000 fine, but in baseball, you have a situation in which runners are [slamming into] fielders. It's brutal. It's borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball. I'm going to call Major League Baseball and put this on the radar. Because it's just wrong."

"It's part of baseball. I understand that," Bochy said in a news conference on Thursday according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Guys run into catchers. Being a catcher, I've been in a few of them. You're in harm's way there. I do think we need to consider changing the rules a little bit because the catcher's so vulnerable -- and there are so many who've gotten hurt, and just a little bit. I mean, they've had their careers or shortened. And here's a guy that's very popular in baseball. Fans want to see him play. Now, he's out for a while. I'd like to see maybe something considered here where we can protect these guys a little bit more. They just don't have the protection to take a guy coming in full speed, with that kind of force."

Bochy said he had previously spoken to Posey about not getting out in front and blocking the plate -- and to an extent, Posey tried to honor that.

"He was not completely in front of the plate. He was in a position where he could make a tag without being hit, too," Bochy said. "He just got himself in a tough position there because [the way] his leg was situated. He was down on one knee, and ideally, you'd like to have the foot pointed that way to protect you a little bit. But, again, you're trying to handle a throw. You don't have time to get set up perfectly. That's what hurt him was his leg was tucked underneath him when he got hit."

This is a sticky situation. On one hand, Bochy clearly feels that Cousins didn't need to take out Posey. On the other, it was a game in extra innings with a potential scoring play. Cousins and the ball both arrived to Posey at virtually the same time, and if Cousins had chosen to attempt to slide to the plate, there's no guarantee he would have made it. It's just an unfortunate end result, but that's baseball.

Cousins tried to reach out to Posey, leaving two voicemails and told reporters Monday he did not sleep Wednesday night. "The last thing I wanted to do was break the guy's leg," he told the Palm Beach Post.

Belt takes the place of outfielder and pinch-runner Darren Ford, who hit the DL with an ankle sprain. The Giants were originally going to resist calling Belt up to replace Ford, but the loss of Posey has changed matters as the Giants need to find a way to inject offense into the club, and fast. The Giants won't have any trouble fitting Belt into the lineup, as first baseman Aubrey Huff is struggling with the bat while left field can also accommodate Belt's production.

Even though Huff hasn't played third base since a 33-game stint in 2008, it's possible the Giants could slide him to third temporarily to get Belt's bat in at first base, which would allow the team to continue playing Pat Burrell and Nate Schierholz in the outfield. In this scenario, Miguel Tejada would move back to shortstop, a position he vacated to fill Pablo Sandoval's absence at third. Now that the Giants have also lost Mike Fontenot to the DL due to a groin strain, the options to fill the shortstop position are weak enough to the point the club would likely benefit from Tejada moving back to short all in the name of getting Belt's bat into the lineup.

Stewart has been with four different teams in the last five years, playing mostly at Triple-A. He received eight at-bats in 2006 for his career debut with the White Sox before collecting 43 plate appearances for the Rangers in '07. The 29-year-old moved onto the Yankees, snagging just one game's worth of playing time in '08, playing for New York's Triple-A team the entirety of 2009 before returning to the bigs with San Diego last season. At San Diego he appeared in two games as a defensive replacement. Now, Stewart could easily match his career 54 plate appearances as the new tandem in San Francisco. Eli Whiteside is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in the early going, but he doesn't exactly command being slotted in the lineup every day.

Crawford, meanwhile, was playing at high-Class A, hitting .322/.412/.593 in 69 plate appearances. He spent the bulk of 2010 with Double-A, hitting .241/.337/.375 and started the 2011 season with a broken finger. The corresponding move for Crawford is not yet known, but it is likely Fontenot to the DL. He'll be the infield backup, with Emmanuel Burriss likely slotting in at shortstop if they don't move Tejada back to short.

Assuming Posey is out for a long time, if not the rest of the season, the Giants may want to call up ex-Giant Bengie Molina, who was with San Francisco from 2007 until partway through last season, when he was moved to the Rangers and faced the Giants in the World Series. Molina, a free agent, has been waiting for both the right fit and price before playing again. He may have just found it.

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Since: Jul 10, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:29 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

It's a shame to see a guy like Posey go down like this.  Catchers rely so much on their legs I really hope this doesn't jeapordize his carreer. 

Posey is not just a great player, he's also a good kid: he's very humble and he works hard.  He's a fantastic role model and representative of the Giants.  

This was a clean play and I haven't heard anyone, including Bochy, accuse Cousins of any wrongdoing.  All Bochy and others are saying is that this is something that should be looked at to prevent similar things from happening to other players.  It isn't gonna help Buster but may help another player and team in the future.

Utmost respect and hope for a speedy recovery goes out to Buster! 

Since: May 20, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:24 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

>Bochy is such a total loser.

Why you pissed at Bochy???? He agrees with you. I don't. I think it was bush. But we can all agree you are a worthless steaming pile of cow dung, figuratively speaking.

Since: Jan 3, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:23 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

I'm not saying the Giants are going to win, but I think the sour grapes people should wait maybe until say June before you write us off. Belt to first, Huff to third, and Sandoval back behind the plate lessens some of the dropoff if only Giants management sees it that way. Belt will hit slightly worse than Posey, but where they will really miss Posey is in his pitch calling. But I think we're probably going to go ahead and play all 162.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:18 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Bochy is such a total loser. If it was a player on the other team he would not have an issue with anything that happened. Injuries are the worst thing about sports but they are a big part of it. Teams not only have to be good but injury free for the most part to win championships. Everything went the Giants way last year so it's not surprising that something would go wrong this year. Don't stoop to making excuses and crying for rules changes when one of your players gets hurt. Just makes you look like a loser. Bochy is a loser that's why he was fired in from his last job.  Suck it up and play the game.

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:10 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Certainly agree with the last sentence of your 6:00 post, LOTEB. 

I've been following this game for a fair number of years, but it always has ways to surprise you--some good, some bad.  And there will probably be some more before this season's out.

Since: Jan 3, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:10 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Sorry Argo...I should have completed my address and said PhilliesR2C2. Kind of like I called you argo. I actually like the Phillies. I have liked them since the days of Schmidt and Luzinski.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:09 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

I played organized baseball until my second year of college.  At no level was I ever coached to take a catcher out at the plate on a close play. Certainly not in little leauge as some numbskulls in this thread suggest.  First, a well coached player ought to know that he's just as likely to injure himself catastrophically on a play like this as he is to break the play up. Second, any little leauge coach who suggests to his players that they should attempt to take the catcher out on a close play should be banned from the sport.  If I found out that the coach of my kid's little league team was telling his players to do this I'd kick his ass myself.  Plays like this are only "part of the game" because they aren't illegal.  Yet.  They should be.

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:08 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt


The fact that your boys lost their starting catcher for the season on a run-over, and that no one playing for Florida got plunked, should be evidence that even the Giants didn't think it was dirty.

P.S. - Just got swept after a 9 game home winning streak; that's gotta make it even harder to swallow.

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:05 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

I guess I'm neutral if this was a cheap shot and whether the rule needs to be changed, but it was a legal play...and I expect Bruce Bochy would want every one of his players to do the same as Cousins did in the same situation. If they didn't and it cost them the game, they may not be playing the next game. 

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 6:04 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Hey, Smith, what are you blaming the Phillies for?  Our team was 3,000 miles away, trying to win a game in 19 innings with an infielder on the pitcher's mound.  You're demonstrating a lot more jealousy than we are.

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