SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher, said he always flinches when there is a collision at home plate, and he got to reflect and review the replays from Friday's play at the plate between Pablo Sandoval and Astros catcher Chris Snyder.
In the eighth inning of Friday's 5-1 win, Sandoval barreled over Snyder on Angel Pagan's sacrifice fly, jarring the ball loose and scoring. Both players came out of the incident unscathed, which Bochy credited to Snyder's position and a last-minute turn to avoid full contact.
Bochy reviewed the play with Buster Posey before Saturday's game, and both agreed that the play was unavoidable and that Snyder made the right move with his positioning.
"Even with that said, Pablo is a big man," Bochy said. "You're always concerned about the catcher when he gets hit there at home plate. I think especially since I caught, and anybody that has caught realizes that. That's a big force of mass coming in there. If you're not in a good position, you're susceptible to getting hurt. What he did well was that he turned to an angle, so he came out of it fine."
Bochy called for a rule change in baseball following Posey's 2011-season-ending injuries after a home-plate collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins, advocating a rule that would require runners to find an open lane to the plate if possible instead of running into the catcher. A similar rule exists on the high school and college levels.
But Bochy said that Friday's collision was unavoidable because Snyder was positioned right in front of the plate as he tried to handle the short-hop throw, and that properly absorbing contact behind the plate is an art that comes with experience.
"It comes with experience, and that's what a lot of these young catchers are missing because you can't block the plate in high school and you can't do it in college," Bochy said. "You're learning once you sign a contract to play professional ball. It's keeping an angle, being in a good position so you're not in a vulnerable position. Sometimes it's hard to get in a good position because the throw will dictate that."