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December 5, 2011

Bruce Bochy


Q.  You said something on the radio the other day about Buster maybe playing some first base this year to give him a little bit of a rest.  Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Yeah, I'd like to keep that option with Buster.  With him coming off his injury, there's a little question how much we can catch him back there, and we'll know more in Spring Training.  But playing first occasionally will help him and help us, then we'd like to have that available.  I'll talk to Buster again in Spring Training.  He wants to catch, but he's open minded about playing some first, too, to help us out there, particularly against a left‑handed pitcher, getting another right‑handed bat in there.  And I'll add on with Buster, he's doing very well.  Before he left Arizona, he was running well, taking batting practice, catching bullpens.  So he's back home now and doing the conditioning part, and he'll crank it back up after the first of the year.

Q.  If you do have Buster at first a little bit, does that sort of make it all the more important that Aubrey be able to play the outfield next year?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Yes, I'd say.  I'll sit down with Aubrey or give him a call.  I hate to talk about winning players when you haven't had an extended conversation with him, but he's aware of that through our text messages.  He knows that left field is a place where he could be getting a lot of playing time.  So this would help our situation, having the flexibility that we could have Buster going to first, Aubrey playing left, and with Belt, we're able to mix and match the way we'd like to.

Q.  Could you sort of see a situation where you've got Aubrey in left and maybe as you mentioned Buster playing first and kind of platoon them?
BRUCE BROCHY:  I wouldn't say platoon.  That's a little too limited on playing field, whoever is at first base, and also, Buster is going to be our primary catcher.  But if this is a way to give him a break occasionally, it's going to work out well for him and whoever is playing for us.  It gives him a day if it's a tough matchup, whether it's Belt or Huff, we've got Buster in there at first.

Q.  Are you willing to put Buster at first base because he's coming off the injury or because you don't want to lose him and a lot of catchers just miss 30 games because they're catchers?
BRUCE BROCHY:  I'd say more the latter, that we'd like to get him out there as much as we can without wearing him down, and putting him at first base a few games allows us to play him more, then this is why we're deciding on giving him some more playing time at first base.

Q.  So the injury and the comeback from that are not necessarily an issue?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, it plays a little part because there is an unknown back there on how much he can catch behind the plate.  You really don't know until Spring Training to see how he reacts, his knee, his legs, until he gets some catching time back there, and if we could answer that a little bit better, then...

Q.  Are you comfortable with Brandon Crawford being the everyday shortstop or would you like to get somebody in there?
BRUCE BROCHY:  We're comfortable.  I thought Brandon did a nice job there.  I really liked the way he carried himself.  He made it through some tough games offensively.  He didn't let it affect him.  He's a very good defender.  So the plan right now is to have him at short.  So I'm very comfortable with him.

Q.  You're talking about left field options, first base options and comfortable with Brandon at short.  Are you comfortable with the team if you don't add another bat?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Yes, I am.  Not that we're talking right now.  When this day is over, I can probably tell you a little bit more, but you still look at ways to improve your ballclub.  That's what Brian is doing right now.  But where we're at with our club, Buster coming back and Freddie Sanchez started throwing today, Brandon at short, Pablo with Huff and Belt, between first and left, we have our lineup out there.  I think the club is close to what we thought it would be for the whole season last year.  Unfortunately, we lost our two hole hitter and our four hole hitter.  This year we should have them in the lineup and it should make us a better offense.

Q.  Do you think defense is the most underrated aspect of the game?
BRUCE BROCHY:  I do.  When pitching is your strength, it's vital that you do a good job defensively, you catch the ball, and you're not an offensive type team.  You need to pitch well and catch in order to keep the game close.  That's kind of how we did it in 2010, so that's why we'd want to try to be as good as we can defensively.

Q.  In your amount of communication you've had with Aubrey, I know you stressed that he'd have to really have a productive offseason.  Do you have any information about just how that process has gone for him and if you can expect him to be in better condition?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Yeah, well, he's been working out every day and putting in his time like he did the first year that he played for us in Arizona.  He told me he's already started his workouts.  He feels a lot better about where he's at right now mentally, and he knows how important it is to be the player that we need to have out there on a consistent basis.
I'll say this about Aubrey:  He took ownership of his struggles, and his struggles, how they were part of our struggles.  He probably took too much of it.  So he's determined to get back to where he was and be the player that we had a couple years ago.

Q.  To the extent that you can comment, what's your impression of Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakjima?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Yeah, I don't know a lot.  Very good player, and that's about as much as I can tell you.  He's got good tools, a very good defender.  He can handle the bat.  His strength is what he can do at shortstop.  He's a guy that can provide some offense, too.

Q.  Are you guys looking for a right‑handed complement for platoon with Brandon Crawford at all?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, we're hoping to do that within to be honest, something that makes sense.  I think, being honest, our resources are limited to what we can do, and so that why it's important that if we can do something within, that's going to make the most sense for us, not that we're not still looking.  We felt like we needed some help for Brandon, particularly against left‑handed pitching.

Q.  Who fits in there?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, Manny Burriss is a guy that had some experience, and it's time, it's time for him to get his opportunity to show what he can do on both sides.  Fontenot, who I thought did a pretty good job there, even though he's a left‑handed hitter, he did all right against lefties.  But we'll see how the meetings go here.  If there's something that makes sense, then we'll do it.

Q.  When you talk about the lineup in general you're talking about Melky at center and Nate at right?

Q.  You're leaning on Nate as the opening day guy at right?
BRUCE BROCHY:  I am.  It always stays competitive.  I don't think that ever stops.  But I'd say right now he's the frontrunner.  I said this earlier:  It's his job to lose.  But he's got to come in and do what he knows what we think he'll do and what he believes he can do, and that's stay healthy and go out there and play well.

Q.  Anything new on Wilson and his elbow since we talked last?
BRUCE BROCHY:  He's still rehabbing, building strength in it.  He won't start throwing until the first of the year, and that's pretty much his norm anyway.  He did pitch after his injury.  We shut him down.  We're just being cautious here, so we're going to hold him back until the first of January.  But he's doing well.  There's been no setbacks or anything.  He's just doing his rehab.

Q.  Can you comment on the reports that your team has bid on Nakajima?
BRUCE BROCHY:  No, I can't.  That's something my general manager might comment, but I can't.

Q.  Talk about Gary Brown's timetable and when you see him‑‑
BRUCE BROCHY:  I'll tell you, he's at a fast pace.  That's probably the best way I can put it with Gary Brown.  He had a great year, exciting player.  It's a need for us to have this type of player.  I don't want to put a timetable on him, but I'd say it's going to be real soon.  He'll be at Major League camp, and more than likely, not that this is etched in stone, go to Double‑A, and if he keeps doing what he's doing, he could be helping us real soon.

Q.  I'm sure maybe you were asked this earlier, but how are all your injured guys, Posey and Sanchez and everybody, how are they all coming back?
BRUCE BROCHY:  They're all coming along fine.  I'll keep it short because I just went through them all.  No setbacks, and they'll all be ready and Wilson and Buster are doing great, and Freddie Sanchez is throwing today.  We expect them all to be ready when Spring Training starts.

Q.  Would you be open to Beltran coming back?  Do you want him back on this team?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, I think you have to.  You'd always be open to it.  These are decisions that I don't make, but I think all of us appreciated his gifts and talents that he had and what he did for us.  But again, our resources are somewhat limited, so it's going to be up to Carlos and of course Brian.

Q.  Do you know if Brian is any closer to getting contracts done with Timmy and Matt?
BRUCE BROCHY:  No, no.  I know he's meeting today with all of you, so he can answer that.

Q.  If you did speak about Beltran coming back would you see him a better fit at left field?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, you know, now we're getting into something that hasn't happened yet.  You know, if that was the Casey certainly would like to talk to Carlos before he would read anything.  But again, that's pretty far off right now, so I really don't want to comment on that.

Q.  Have you heard about Santos in Venezuela, and what have you heard about him?
BRUCE BROCHY:  Well, this kid has really‑‑ this past year, I've said this:  He's made as much improvement progress as any young player I've seen in a long time with his skills behind the plate, handling pitchers, and of course the bat.  Now he's down there having a great year in Venezuela, and I think he's leading the league in hitting.  Really, and he's a young kid.  He's 21, 22.  He's really making a lot of noise for a catcher that swings the bat the way he does, that's a big commodity.  I'm watching his progress and look forward to seeing him in the spring.

Q.  Where would you like him to stop at some point and catch his breath?
BRUCE BROCHY:  I think it would be all right if he kept playing.  It's experience for him.  It's probably the best thing for him right now, catching, and swinging the bat.  So those at‑bats are important.  They speed up your progress.  I played five years of winter ball, so I know how valuable that experience is.
When he goes in Spring Training, if he doesn't make our club, then you have to keep a watchful eye on him so you don't wear him down too much.

Q.  Can he be a backup at this stage or would you rather see him play?
BRUCE BROCHY:  To be honest, I think we'd rather see him play.  Would we rule it out?  No, we're going to stay open minded there, but especially with what he's continued to do, just this season, carrying the same type of play into winter ball.

Q.  How comfortable are you in left field with Huff defensively?
BRUCE BROCHY:  He has shown me he can do it.  In fact, he was kidding with me the other day, he sent me a text, Nanu will be back, which means I can play left field.  So that would be comfortable.  If he's out there when we make a change late in the ballgame, similar to Burrell, probably yes, we would, for two reasons, probably to give him a break but to put a little more speed out there and keep whoever it is out there involved.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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