SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Giants’ first semblance of an actual baseball game in 2014 ended in irony.
With a play at the plate, of all things.
Just one day after the league and union announced Rule 7.13, meant to govern collisions between catchers and baserunners, the Giants’ annual spring intrasquad game concluded with Roger Kieschnick sliding, Andrew Susac applying a swipe tag and a scoreless tie after four scheduled innings Tuesday.
“The guys executed it perfectly,” Bochy said.
Bochy planned to address the new rule in a full-squad meeting prior to Wednesday’s Cactus League opener. Although the league has encouraged teams to tell runners to slide, Bochy said he would not issue an ultimatum.
“I don’t think I’ll tell them they have to (slide),” Bochy said. “We want them to slide but if they get into a position they’ll get hurt, we want them to protect themselves. Sometimes you may have no choice. The last thing you want to do is slide into someone who’s taking the whole plate away from you.”
Catchers can block the plate, but only when they have possession of the ball – and they’re encouraged to give the runner a lane. The Giants already had their catchers set up a step in fair territory while receiving throws – something they practiced ever since Buster Posey got targeted by the Marlins’ Scott Cousins in 2011.
Bochy, a vocal proponent for a rule change, said he was satisfied with the form it took. He also was encouraged about how expanded replay will be implemented after he, GM Brian Sabean, bench coach Ron Wotus and vice president Bobby Evans attended a two-hour seminar with MLB executive vice president Joe Torre on Monday.
Bochy was under the impression that managers would have to rely on guesswork when deciding when to use a challenge. He was pleased to find out that adequate time will be allotted to both teams while their video coordinators review footage and then call the dugout with a recommendation.
Managers will have 30 seconds after an inning ends to file a challenge. During an inning, they can challenge until the pitcher is on the rubber and the batter is in the box.
“I don’t think time is going to be an issue,” Bochy said. “It’s going to be available really quickly for you.”
Adam Duvall hit a double off Edwin Escobar in the intrasquad game, which featured mostly poised pitching from the prospects in camp. Seven of eight pitchers didn’t walk a batter, although Escobar hit Mac Williamson with a pitch.
Clayton Blackburn was most impressive, recording two strikeouts (one looking, one swinging) in his scoreless innings. Kyle Crick got three fly outs in a 1-2-3 inning. And center fielder Gary Brown started out everyone’s spring with a fine, diving catch to take a single away from leadoff hitter Juan Perez.
Bochy said Angel Pagan would be held out of Wednesday’s exhibition opener as a precaution. Bochy also said he misspoke when he told reporters that Marco Scutaro could appear in a game by the end of the week. He meant to say Scutaro could appear by the end of next week.
Who made the throw from the outfield to start the relay that nailed Kieschnick at the plate?
Juan Perez. And that should've been a gimme for you.