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Registered: 12-2007
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posticon Giants might start season with rookie shortstop


Interesting last few paragraphs... Carney Lansford changed Boc0ck's batting style this ST by lowering his hands. The results seem to speak for themselves...
emoticon

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Giants might start season with rookie shortstop
Giants' Bocock good in his chosen field
By Daniel Brown
Mercury News

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - After signing a contract to wear Mizuno equipment, Giants prospect Brian Bocock decided the first glove from the company didn't feel quite right. So he sent it back. He sent the next one back, too - and the next one and the next one.

"They were a little annoyed with that," Bocock said Sunday, recalling that it took seven or eight tries to find a winner.

The shortstop can be forgiven for being picky. Bocock's glove looks increasingly like his express ticket to the major leagues.

With Omar Vizquel sidelined until at least mid-April by knee surgery, the Giants are considering letting Bocock hold down the fort at short. If he does, it won't be because of his bat - Bocock hit .220 at Class A San Jose last season - but his wizardry in the field is just Vizquel-ian enough to make him the leading candidate to start on opening day.

"The way he plays defense? He's a big league shortstop already," center fielder Aaron Rowand said. "Great range. Great hands. And a cannon of an arm."

Bocock ultimately found a Mizuno glove to his liking and has put it to frequent use this spring. Entering play Sunday, the non-roster invitee had 50 innings at shortstop - more than any Giant at any position during Cactus League play and almost twice as many innings as the next-closest shortstop (Kevin Frandsen, 27).

He has yet to make an error.

Bocock, who turned 23 Sunday, credits his father, Tom Bocock, a former infielder in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, for teaching him fundamentals at an early age. It helped that the kid craved practice grounders like a hungry man craves a buffet.
"I could take groundballs all day long. I just love it," Bocock said.

Now he's trying to apply the same training discipline to the batter's box, where pitchers have treated him more cruelly than any bad hop. He is a .239 hitter over two minor league seasons, with a .310 on-base percentage.

At San Jose, Bocock struck out an astounding 105 times in 345 at-bats. If that's what Class A pitchers did to him, you can imagine what Johan Santana has in store for him in the majors.

Disgusted by his strikeout totals, Bocock came to spring training determined to put the ball in play more often. Under the guidance of hitting coach Carney Lansford, and with an assist from Rowand, he has lowered his hands for a quicker path to the ball.

Bocock said more consistent contact would allow him to make use of the speed that helped him steal a combined 41 bases at Class A Augusta and San Jose last year.

Through nine games this spring, he is hitting .273 - with just three strikeouts in 22 at-bats.

"More than anything he's shown that he's not in awe of playing in the major leagues," Rowand said. "He's far from being overmatched."

Bocock is heartened by the fact that other shortstops have used their gloves to get to the big leagues and figured out the hitting part later. Vizquel, for example, once hit .213 with a .295 slugging percentage over a full minor league season. Today, Vizquel leads active players with 2,598 career hits.

Bocock said: "I don't want to strike out like I did last year - that was way too many for the type of hitter I am. But the rest will come. I'm having good at-bats and I'm comfortable at the plate."

To Bocock, of course, feeling comfortable is important - just ask the folks at Mizuno. But, perhaps someday, Bocock's bat will fit like a glove.




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Contact Daniel Brown at dbrown@[sign in to see URL]


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Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!!!
3/10/2008, 11:40 am Link to this post   
 
Bhaakon Profile
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Giants might start season with rookie shortstop


I was at today's game. Bocock crapped his pants on the defensive end. Seriously, it was 9.5 on the Ransom-Ellison scale of Gold Glove minor leaguers who choke under pressure.

I was heartened to see that Zito is bringing more heat than Nomo, if only barely.

Last edited by Bhaakon, 3/11/2008, 1:34 pm
3/10/2008, 11:43 pm Link to this post   
 
losgigantes Profile
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HALL OF FAME POSTER
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Registered: 12-2007
Location: South Bay
Posts: 1935
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Giants might start season with rookie shortstop


Yeah... figures that within 3 hours of this posting, he commited 2 errors emoticon

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Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!!!
3/11/2008, 10:27 am Link to this post   
 


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