If you listened to the blogger interview session with Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean, you’ll notice that most of the questions were directed at Sabean. I had several questions for Bochy, but I had actually gotten the chance to ask them earlier. I asked him about Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, and Aubrey Huff (among other things), and a few things stood out:
- He doesn’t seem to know yet what the plan is for Brandon Belt.
- Spring Training will definitely be used to sort some things out (though that’s not really surprising).
- Bochy didn’t believe Huff’s struggles were just about his shape, and doesn’t have any regrets in giving him a lot of playing time to work through his struggles. He took a lot longer to answer the final two questions (the ones about Huff)
What follows is a transcript of the interview…
Giants Nirvana: Do you see Angel Pagan as your leadoff hitter?
Bruce Bochy: Well, I think that’s a question we can answer better as we get into Spring Training. He’s certainly a very very strong candidate. We got Cabrera, too, who could lead off, and these are things that we need to figure out in Spring Training.
Giants Nirvana: Right now, how does Brandon Belt fit into your plans for the 2012 season?
Bruce Bochy: Great question, ‘cause we’re not really positive right now whether it’s at first base, left field, or, you know, being a role player. It’s gonna be competitive this Spring, and certainly his position is gonna be very competitive.
Giants Nirvana: Several years down the road, do you think Buster Posey will still be catching on a regular basis?
Bruce Bochy: Uh, that’s a hard one to answer too, because a lot of that will depend on Buster and of course, our team, what makes the most sense — to have him at first base or catching. But I will say, for right now, that’s what he’s gonna do.
Giants Nirvana: One of the things last year with Aaron Rowand’s struggles and Andres Torres’ inconsistencies… the Giants had sort of a vacancy in centerfield. Nate Schierholtz was hitting well; do you think he could handle centerfield at all? That was something that was never tried…was that considered?
Bruce Bochy: Well, we have talked about Nate going to centerfield, but now with Pagan and Cabrera that wouldn’t make any sense for us because Nate is such a good rightfielder, particularly in our ballpark. So it would just make sense to leave him in right field, where he’ll give us the great defense he gives us there, and have Pagan or Melky in centerfield.
Giants Nirvana: Now that it’s been made clear that Aubrey Huff was out of shape last season, do you have any regrets in the patience you exercised in handling him?
Bruce Bochy: Uh, no, I don’t think it’s just about him being out of shape. You know, we all have our ups and downs, and I think what’s important sometimes is you stay behind these guys whether young or veterans, but he was a guy that we certainly needed to get on track because we’re losing Posey and Sanchez; you know, he had done it before, so no, I don’t have any regrets. But it’s a lesson learned from everybody including Aubrey. You know, it’s just like you talk about Aaron Rowand. We ended up sitting him on the bench. You do what you think is right, and at that time, we thought Aubrey was one of our best options as far as somebody to help drive in runs.
Giants Nirvana: So you don’t think his struggles were because he was out of shape?
Bruce Bochy: Ehhh (pause), it could be a number of things…losing confidence, not quite being in the same shape. You know, it’s hard to say, you just have a year that you don’t see the ball as well, you don’t have the same confidence. But he’s gotta get that back. He knows it, and he looks determined to get back into what he thinks is the kind of shape he was in two years ago.