MLB: Giants' Bocock copies Frandsen and improves at plate
By Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News
By Andrew Baggarly
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One morning a few weeks ago, Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford asked Kevin Frandsen to report to the cage for some early swings.
It wasn't for Frandsen's benefit. Lansford wanted Brian Bocock to watch Frandsen's simple setup, quiet hands and fundamental mechanics. Then he gave an order to the dynamic young shortstop.
"Copy that exactly," Lansford told him.
Bocock listened and has regained his confidence at the plate. He is hitting .333 in 15 at-bats this spring, and his hits haven't been jam shots. He has two solid doubles, too.
"I'm seeing the ball better, slowing it down and reacting to it," Bocock said. "That's better than thinking about how I'm standing or where my elbow is. It makes a huge difference."
Bocock said he has used dozens of stances in his three professional seasons, often receiving conflicting advice from minor league coaches and roving instructors. It's precisely the lack of continuity the Giants hoped to address as they formulated a new hitting manual over the winter.
When Bocock arrived in camp, he was imitating David Eckstein's crouched stance. Bocock, 24, had worked out with Eckstein over the winter.
"I was at the point I'm trying to get feedback from anyone," said Bocock, who hit .143 as a stopgap for Omar Vizquel last April, then had a .163 average at Triple-A Fresno. "Eckstein is an All-Star, a World Series MVP, and he's a guy who wasn't supposed to make it to the big leagues."
The against-the-odds message struck a chord with Bocock. He is a tremendous defensive shortstop, and coaches continually tell him he'll play two decades in the majors if he can just hit .250. It's a message he has heard so often that his eyes roll.
"That's not the way I want to think," said Bocock, who is probably headed for Double-A. "I wanted to find a way to take the confidence I feel in the field and take it to the batter's box. I'm getting to that point now."
Frandsen sees the transition, too. In fact, he went up to Lansford last weekend after feeling a little out of sorts in a game and asked if he could watch Bocock take some swings.
"Not a bad idea," Lansford said with a laugh. "He does Frannie better than Frannie."
—The Giants' 7-5 victory over Milwaukee didn't lack for late-game excitement. They tied it in the eighth on Ryan Rohlinger's inside-the-park home run and won in the ninth on Jesus Guzman's jaw-dropping two-run shot, which cleared the 35-foot wall in center field. The homer was estimated at more than 475 feet.
Before those late heroics, Milwaukee's Jeff Suppan held the Giants to one hit in five scoreless innings. Suppan, the Brewers' presumed starter for the April 7 opener at AT and T Park, entered with a 7.36 ERA this spring.
—Randy Johnson received treatment on his sore left biceps and club officials believe he'll skip only one turn in the rotation.
—Scouts are buzzing that the Giants are actively looking to upgrade at backup catcher and long relief. One possibility is catcher Rob Bowen, whom the A's released Tuesday.
The Giants have a few potential trade chips in camp. One is Rule 5 draftee Luis Perdomo if the Giants determine they will not have room to carry him in their bullpen. Another is Merkin Valdez, who is out of options. And one more is Eugenio Velez, who could be more expendable now that non-roster player Andres Torres has shown the ability to sparkle in center field.
—Velez wasn't available because he turned his ankle during pregame drills. Infielder Emmanuel Burriss (left-ankle contusion) was held out as a precaution but is expected to return on Wednesday.