SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Bench leaned against the batting cage Sunday morning looking as if he were one of the Giants. That was fitting, since his catching background helps him relate to two of their most prominent personalities: Buster Posey and Bruce Bochy.
Bench called Posey "an amazing athlete" who's still learning the craft of catching.
"We sometimes overlook the fact that he's had only a couple of years [in the Major Leagues] and you expect him to do it when he's thrust in that role. I was too," said Bench, who appeared at AT&T Park as the official spokesman for MLB's Play Sun Smart campaign to raise skin cancer awareaness.
In fact, Bench played 265 Minor League games spread over four seasons before the Cincinnati Reds summoned him to the Majors in 1967; the Giants summoned Posey to stay in 2010 after he appeared in 172 games in parts of three seasons.
"That's fine," Bench said of Posey's relatively scant Minor League seasoning. "That's what we want. You don't think about it; you just play every day. He seems to be handling that very well."
Bench and Bochy talked intently by the batting cage.
"He's one of my favorite guys and one of my favorite managers," Bench said of Bochy. "He handles the team well and handles pitching well. We've always had great rapport and a great relationship."
Bench said that working with the pitching staff enhances a catcher's ability to manage, thus explaining the frequency of catcher-to-manager transitions.
"You learn to handle personalities, so it goes beyond the pitching staff," said Bench, a 1990 Hall of Fame inductee. "Pitchers have pretty distinct personalities, so that would cover most every player on the team. Understanding the personalities and the psyche of a club and its players is not something to be overlooked."