May 25th, 2011 is likely a date that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey will never forget. It was the day that his catching career took a very scary turn and the future of the position in Major League Baseball changed forever.
You remember the play. In the 12th inning of a tie game with the then Florida Marlins, Emilio Bonifacio lifted a soft fly ball to right-center field, which Nate Shierholtz caught and gunned for home. Scott Cousins, the runner on third for Florida, tagged immediately and raced home to plate the winning run. However, the ball got there first and Buster Posey was there waiting to put the tag on Cousins. Instead, Cousins bowled him over and in the process, broke Posey’s fibula and tore several tendons in the catcher’s ankle.
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Of course, Posey would miss the remainder of the 2011 season, but the incident had a much bigger reach than just one year. A new rule (7.13) was enacted by Major League Baseball two years later, protecting catchers from the vicious collisions at the plate. Aptly dubbed the “Posey Rule”, MLB strictly forbids runners from initiating contact at the plate and prevents catchers from blocking the plate and causing contact.
For Buster Posey, the incident led to the Giants opting to utilize the catcher more often at first base. The team had begun to experiment with him at first anyway, trying to maximize the amount of time they could work his bat into the line-up. However, by utilizing him more at first base, the Giants are also finding a way to protect their star, not only from collisions, but also from the rigors of catching on a daily basis.
When I caught up with Buster Posey late last week, I asked him about this and whether he saw a situation where the Giants may want to make the move more permanent. He was not a fan of the idea.
“Right now, I’m 100% focused on being a catcher,” he said. “I know there’s going to be some games over at first base, but my priority is definitely on catching as long as I can.”
But Posey feels like he’s in a good place to continue to stick behind the plate. He’s improved his training regimen, something that continues to evolve as he gets older and his body takes more wear and tear.
“My workouts have become more functional now than they were in the past, and from a nutritional, hydration standpoint, I think I’m much more knowledgeable about how to keep myself in shape, not just during the season but also during the offseason.”
“I know there’s going to be some games over at first base, but my priority is definitely on catching as long as I can.”
For Posey, the hydration was a big key, and he further elaborated that while the Giants are now on board and pushing it as well, it was his partnership with BODYARMOR® SuperDrink that has really helped him understand why proper hydration is key to his continued health and physical well-being.
“I know the Giants are really honing in on hydration and how it affects your energy level, your power output,” he said. That helped lead me toward BODYARMOR® SuperDrink. It is a great choice as far as rehydrating, staying hydrated. It’s been important.”
Being able to maintain himself in peak physical condition will remain to be key for Buster Posey, especially as he attempts to maintain his career behind the plate and fight off the Giants’ advances to move him to first base full-time.
“As long as I have value behind the plate, I want to be there. I enjoy the position.”
As a player with 23.6 fWAR to date, he’s definitely shown that he has value behind the dish, and as long as he can keep that up, he’ll have no argument from the Giants as to where he should play.