Major League Baseball managers aren’t typically the biggest fans of having their players leave Spring Training for the World Baseball Classic. San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged on the Jim Rome Show Monday that he was never really keen of the idea. However, Bochy has since changed his tune about the fact and actually talked about the good his players Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford are doing for the sport by playing in the global tournament.
“Initially, I wasn’t a big fan of it, and losing my players in spring training, but hey, I’m all for it now,” Bochy said. “If it helps promote the game, we’re trying to make this a global game. We are playing our part. And we have two really, really good players, great players on our club there. They’re helping.”
However, with Team USA advancing to the second round, the United States called upon the Giants again. This time for pitching in starter Jeff Samardzija and closer Mark Melancon, two guys Bochy was a little more hesitant in providing.
“Mark’s joining the pool now. And Jeff, I don’t think Jeff’s going to go,” Bochy said. “I think Melancon, he is available, he’s ready to go. We pitch him every other day here, and I think just changing it up for him. We started spring training, what the eleventh or twelfth of February, so I think the change may be good for Mark. Just turn up the intensity, he’s ready to go. It’s tougher with the starter, because you get those starters slotted for the season, where they’re going to pitch, and for us to hold back Jeff for the WBC, it makes it tougher, and we need him to be our number four starter, and we have him geared for that. And to change that, it makes it a little bit more difficult. So that’s what we’re talking about now, but as far as Melancon, he’s ready to go.”
The three-time All-Star Melancon was signed in the off-season to shore up a Giants bullpen that led the majors with 32 blown saves in 2016. Bochy talked about the addition of Melancon, and how his spring has gone thus far.
“He’s done everything we’ve thought. He just has a great focus and concentration when he’s out there. He’s locked in,” Bochy said. “When he’s not pitching, he’s a lot of fun to be around. He makes himself available to the fans, the media, he’s just a pro. He has shown that out there, a couple times he’s gotten in jams, bases loaded, but he’s pitched his way out of it, takes care of himself.
“I think with having one of the elite closers in the game closing for you, it just gives the team a sense of confidence late in the ballgame. We all know what happened last year, and not just the last game, but the second half, we broke a record, and so I think it’s going to do a lot for the club, knowing we’re strong at the back end of the bullpen and that’s what we’ve always been, and that’s been a big part of our success. It got away from us, it caught up with us last year, but having Mark there, I think it’s going to do a lot for this team.”