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: May 26, 2011
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:39 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Shut up Dorn!!

Since: Jul 12, 2008
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:30 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

I think that there is no answer to this riddle.  I do think that the collision could have been avoided and that the runner had a clear path to the base that didn't include going thru the catcher.  The manager, a former catcher, remarked that he saw this to be the case.  He didn't say that it shouldn't have happened, just that he saw that it might not have needed to happen.  There will be a response today.  The Giants are "old school", and they will protect their own and send the message today.  It will likely be in the first inning if the first two batters make outs, so if I was the #3 hitter today in the Marlins lineup, just be ready, and try not to overreact, because it will happen.  If you don't think so, then you don't know the game as well as you think you do.  What is more curious is that this type a play will put a star on the radar of all Marlins opponents that they would probably rather have done without.  They won the game, and there is a price for it when you win it that way.  I am a Giants fan, and not happy that Posey was injured and will be unavailable for whatever amount of time that he is out.  But what is done is done, and the games go on.  Injuries are a part of the game, and being a Giants fan, I don't like this one, but if they would have won the game in the previous inning, none of this would be happening either.  So the "what ifs" can go on forever, but what is done is done.

Get well Buster, and let's go Giants!  Shake this off and get back to the task at hand!  

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:29 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

it's an unfortunate situation hopefully one of SF fireballing pitchers don't bean him in retaliation

Since: Sep 11, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:26 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Obviously your PUN was intended or it would not have been in CAPS!  So save the sarcasm my FRIEND!  See how that works, cause im not really your friend.  It was a perfectly LEGAL play, but it WAS A CHEAP SHOT!  I realize that in the 12th inning your clawing for runs, but to blow up a guy who is not blocking the plate thinking he will lay down a sweep tag is simply MORONIC!  Nobody feels bad for the Champs, they may even be happy that it happened, that is baseball.  Young guy pinch hitting in the 12th inning batting .148 or some garbage gets on base via FIELDERS CHOICE, then Blows up a bigger name to get his name in the paper.  Whether or not the guy scored, sometimes guys just want to be SEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:21 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Injuries occur from this type of collision frequently, and usually more damaging injuries than broken bones. I'm talking about concussions. If Major League Baseball changes the rules now, they are telling us that they are more concerned with protecting their stars than they are about the overall safety and health of all of their players. This stuff happens all the time and the fact that it happened to one of our up and coming young super stars(if that's really what Posey is) should not be the reason we change the rules. If the rules change now, what other conclusion can we as fans come to?

Nothing against Posey, nothing against Cousins. Nothing against the rule, nothing against changing it. Just my two cents.

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:19 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Isn't too hard to roll over and tag the plate after the collision.  Watch the replay, Posey was not in the baseline, he was a couple of feet in front of home plate.  Blocking the plate and lighting up the catcher has been part of baseball forever and I have no problem with that but if you have a clear path to the plate, which Cousins did, you're going out of the baseline to hit the catcher.  Simple, rules say if you're out of the baseline, you're out.  Lousy non call by the ump, lousy play by the runner.

Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:14 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Just curious MTR, how was Cousins out of the baseline if he managed to tag home plate?

Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:14 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Hope Buster gets better soon. I am guessing that most people on here that think it was a dirty play or that there needs to be rule changes haven't been to many baseball games. This is how it's done if the catcher is blocking the plate -- knock the ball loose and touch the base. I am sorry that Buster got hurt but I don't think there should be any rule changes. The catcher does have to option to not block the plate and therefore not be barreled over.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:12 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

Also to be clear blocking the plate is impeding the path of the runner without possession of the baseball. Posey never possessd the baseball so any time he was in the path between Cousins and the plate he was blocking. He didn't catch the ball, but turned to get in Cousins' way as if he had the ball. That is when he blocked the plate.

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:10 pm

Posey breaks leg, Giants call for Belt

When a runner leaves the baseline he is out and if they interfere with the fielder the batter is out as well. If a runner leaves the baseline to hit another player, which Cousins did, not only should he be out but if it results in an injury let him be suspended as long as the player he injured is out. Umps blew the call, happens every day, and no matter what if any rule changes result nothing will change the fact that Posey's career may be over before it even really started - just goggle Pete Rose/ Ray Fosse. I caught for years in amateur ball, there's a reason they teach you to stand in front of the plate on plays at home. You want to be a tough guy like Sciosca was and block the plate more power to you, if you want to have a long career just stand in front of the plate like Varitek and Posada and use a sweep tag. And if I was a pitcher on the Giants staff I would be foaming at the mouth to stick the next pitch Cousins sees from them in his ear hole.

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