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Position switch not imminent for Posey

Position switch not imminent for Posey

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Position switch not imminent for Posey
SAN FRANCISCO -- The question was inevitable. So was Giants manager Bruce Bochy's response.

Bochy was asked Thursday morning whether Buster Posey's torn ankle ligaments and broken left leg, injuries that occurred only about 12 hours earlier, prompted Giants management to consider a position switch more seriously for the promising 24-year-old.

"No," Bochy said. "Catching is what he wants to do."

Posey's desire is expected to remain intact after he heals from the injuries he sustained Wednesday night in a home-plate collision with Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins.

The Giants have the power to bend Posey to their will, not the other way around. For now, team and player remain like-minded, particularly since competent catchers who also can hit proficiently are about as rare as doubleheaders. Bochy cited Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza while drawing comparisons to Posey. The 2010 National League Rookie of the Year hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs and collaborated with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and the rest of the pitching staff through the season's second half and the postseason after the trade of Bengie Molina -- who won't be re-signed, by the way.

Recently, Posey's ability to survive the impact of repeated foul tips has become an issue. He and the Giants have fielded numerous questions about the wisdom of keeping him behind the plate when switching to a corner position, most likely first base, would spare him from physical and neurological erosion.

Bochy reiterated that the Giants have made no overtures toward Posey about switching spots.

"At this point we haven't, because he's our catcher," Bochy said. "He's a big reason we won the World Series."

Bochy admitted that the Giants might consider moving Posey to a less grueling position later in his career. Other teams have done this with accomplished hitters. Craig Biggio caught three full seasons before the Houston Astros made him a second baseman. Joe Torre caught for parts of 10 seasons but gradually spent more time at first and third base during that period. He then didn't catch a single game through his final seven years as an active player.

"When it gets down the road, sure," Bochy said. "But have we discussed it? No."

Another matter worth discussing is whether the Giants can continue to contend in the NL West without Posey, who had hiked his batting average to .284 with a 13-game hitting streak.

If Thursday's 1-0 loss to Florida was any indication, the Giants will sorely miss Posey. But the void he has left might not be so daunting if the team acquires catching help. Washington's Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez already has materialized in rumors as a player whom the Giants could pursue sensibly in a trade.

San Francisco also can expect third baseman Pablo Sandoval to return sometime in June. Assuming the pitching remains competent and none of the other West rivals goes on an unthinkable winning streak, the Giants should stay in first place or close to it through the summer.

Conventional wisdom dictated that the Giants should win the division if they could sustain just a moderate amount of offense. That remains the case, though a scoring upgrade won't happen if Aubrey Huff (.215), Miguel Tejada (.221) and Cody Ross (.245) continue to flounder.

"This club has dealt very well with adversity," Bochy said. "We're still a very good ballclub."

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

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