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Weekend Buzz: Posey's injury is sad, but rules are just fine


The Weekend Buzz while you were wondering whether the Indy 500 winner drinks his milk whole, skim or two-percent. ...

1. Catcher's interference: What happened to Buster Posey is head-shakingly sad and mind-numbingly awful. The damage is severe (fractured fibula, three torn ankle ligaments, two screws to help them heal, done for the season) and the timing is horror-film eerie (his surgery Sunday was exactly one year to the day of his 2010 debut with the Giants).

That said, should baseball do more to protect its catchers?


That's the short, quick, uncomplicated answer. And it isn't meant to be as callous as it sounds. The longer, more nuanced answer is this: If there is a way to protect the players -- any player -- then it is baseball's absolute responsibility to study it.

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"I have reached out to Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association with our concerns and suggestions for the future regarding [the] play," Jeff Berry, Posey's agent, said in a statement Friday.

But it's hardball, not softball. Stuff happens.

The runner has an absolute right to home plate. The catcher has the right to prevent the runner from scoring. Do those two rights make a wrong? Unless you're prepared to radically change the game, there is only one way to go from here that is worth studying, and that is penalizing the runner if he goes out of his way to mow down the catcher.

Even then, what Florida's Scott Cousins did does not fall under this umbrella. Though footage and still shots show Cousins colliding with Posey in front of the plate, it isn't so far out in front as to be irrefutably unavoidable.

Not unless you can promise that Posey wasn't in the process of turning and lunging to tag Cousins in a manner that would have impeded his path to the plate.

Buster posey is helped off the field after breaking his leg on a vicious hit at the plate by Scott Cousins. (US Presswire)  
Buster posey is helped off the field after breaking his leg on a vicious hit at the plate by Scott Cousins. (US Presswire)  
Posey is the second young phenom catcher to suffer a serious injury in two summers. I repeat, it's awful. Last Aug. 2, Cleveland's Carlos Santana blew out his left knee when Boston's Ryan Kalish smashed into him at the plate.

Also last year, the Angels' Bobby Wilson was knocked onto the disabled list in his first major-league start when the Yankees' Mark Teixeira blasted him in a violent home-plate collision.

Like Posey, Wilson, too, was in front of the plate to begin a classic, bang-bang play.

And as Teixeira explained, "As soon as he turns toward me, he's trying to block the plate."

Same thing faced by Cousins, who felt so badly that his eyes welled up with tears during interviews the next day.

Most catchers are taught to "show" some of the plate as they prepare to receive the ball -- that is, stand in front of the plate and maybe only partially block it with one leg until they have the ball.

Some say when a sliver of the plate is available, the runner should be mandated to slide.

But these plays develop in a split-second, things still change in that split-second (positioning, arms and legs moving, the location of the baseball).

As for the Wilson-Teixeira play, it turned out Wilson didn't even have possession of the baseball. Neither he nor Teixeira knew that until after the collision -- and Wilson had suffered a concussion and a left ankle sprain.

Losing Posey is bad for the game on so many levels. It probably destroys the Giants' chances to repeat as champions. It's the second consecutive season a sensational young player with a skyrocketing "Q" rating has gone down -- last year, Washington pitcher Stephen Strasberg blew out his elbow.

But it is a tough game, and things happen. Pittsburgh lost catcher Ryan Doumit to an ankle injury in the second inning Sunday -- and the Cubs' Carlos Pena didn’t' bowl him over. Pena simply slid hard into home.

"This isn't a family reunion softball game," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a former catcher himself, after last year's Teixeira play.

It's not always pretty. But it's the game.

2. Alive in Arizona: Look at who's in first place in the NL West. Lots of reasons the Diamondbacks -- who have won 14 of 16 -- are there, but none so important as the dramatic bullpen turnaround. Last year's unit was historically bad, one of the worst in the past 50 years. This year's pen has held opponents scoreless in 18 of 27 games in May. Hello, J.J. Putz and Co.

3. Don't look Ethel, we've been mooned! Streaking in Seattle took on a new meaning Saturday night, but what it's mostly meant for the Mariners is good things: Even after dropping the series finale to the Yankees, Seattle has won 10 of its past 13 games and, behind Felix Hernandez (no, other 29 clubs, you can't have him), rookie Michael Pineda and revitalized Erik Bedard, the M's are 18-11 over their past 29.

4. Jose Bautista rocks: Toronto's slugger now has 80 homers since Sept. 26, 2009, according to STATS LLC -- and no other player has more than 50 in that span (Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Teixeira are at 50).

5. Miller Time: Milwaukee finished an 8-1 home stand on Sunday and has won 13 of their past 15 games at Miller Park.

6. Big Papi in a pinch: You've seen David Ortiz homer many times before for the red-hot Red Sox (winners of 13 of 15 heading into Sunday's nightcap), but what was different about Sunday's game one winner in Detroit? It was Papi's first pinch-hit homer in eight years, since April, 2003.

7. Cincinnati's marathon men: The Reds played 19 innings Wednesday in Philadelphia and 12 Saturday in Atlanta in the midst of an exhausting stretch in which they're playing 20 games in 20 days and 33 in 34 days and it's tiring just to contemplate all that and zzzzzz. ...

8. Pirates own Cubs: Even after losing Sunday, the Pirates are 17-6 agaisnt the Cubs since Sept. 30, 2009 and have outscored the Cubs 107-76.

9. John Danks at 0-8: Whoa, whoa, whoa: What do you mean you can spell "John Danks" without an L?

10. Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt says he'll meet May 31 payroll: But he tells players not to blow their paychecks on beer and Cheez-Its because it might be their last.


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