Discussion

A mental block in baseball

Updated: May 26, 2011, 4:37 PM ET
By Buster Olney

The major injury concern that the Giants had with catcher Buster Posey, as manager Bruce Bochy explained on the phone Wednesday afternoon, was because of foul tips. Posey had taken a couple of foul balls off his face mask, and Bochy said the Giants had an internal conversation about whether Posey should wear a different kind of mask.

Bochy had asked Posey if his young catcher had tried the old-fashioned catcher's mask, with its thick padding over the chin and jawline and forehead. Posey had responded that he had always worn the hockey-goalie style mask, which sits more flush against the face of a catcher, and he couldn't imagine leaving some part of his face exposed. It was a conversation that Posey wanted to have another day; his manager intended to bring it up again.

But that is the least of the Giants' worries, in the aftermath of the devastating leg injury that Posey suffered while blocking home plate in the 12th inning Wednesday night. As soon as the Marlins' Scott Cousins hit him, with Posey's left ankle twisting grotesquely underneath him, Posey rolled onto his stomach and began slapping the ground in agony; Cousins immediately checked on Posey.

He was helped off the field, his left leg dangling, and the Giants will have a better idea later today of how long Posey will be out. But anything seems possible.

In the still photographs of the play, Posey's foot was pointing in the wrong direction, writes Andrew Baggarly. Posey is the last guy that the Giants want to lose, Miguel Tejada told Henry Schulman.

How different the Giants' world would seem today if San Francisco hadn't rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game.

What can the Giants do if Posey is out for an extended period? Well, not much, as the Boston Red Sox and many other teams can tell them, from their own searches for catchers in the past year. If Posey's injury is a season-ender, San Francisco could call Bengie Molina -- but when other teams have called Molina and asked him about spending weeks in the minors to prepare, they haven't been greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm; his preference apparently is to be quickly promoted into the big leagues.

• What follows is not meant to be a criticism of Posey or Scott Cousins: In the current world of assessing value, the act of blocking home plate is simply not worth the potential cost. Not even close.

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