SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy officially has sent more than 6,000 pinch-hitters to the plate in his 25 years as a big league manager, but that astounding number falls well short of capturing the number of times he has actually told a hitter to get ready.
The Giants manager uses the on-deck circle as a weapon at times, sending a hitter there with no intention of actually letting him take a swing. It's a matchup game, and Bochy will use anything at his disposal to get a hot starter out of the game or a favorable matchup in the late innings.
On this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Michael Morse explained how Bochy used him as a decoy a couple of times when Morse wasn't physically available to actually pinch-hit.
"There were a lot of times when he wanted a starter out of the game. He would tell me to go up there and he would tell me, 'You're not hitting. You're not hitting, but I just want to get this starter out,'" Morse said. "I would warm up at the bat rack and then you would see the manager make a move and all of a sudden now there's a righty in the 'pen. By the time I got to the on-deck circle, there's somebody else already waiting -- like a (Gregor) Blanco or somebody -- was waiting down in the tunnel to hit.
"But I'm out there showing my face. Next thing you know, the manager comes out, takes out the starter, puts in the right-handed reliever. I just walk back (to the dugout) and here comes Blanco to the on-deck circle, ready to hit."
Morse laughed as he recalled Bochy's late-innings moves, which sometimes would lead to the manager smirking and telling the dangerous Morse, "I'm in their head."
"He would always get his match late in the game," Morse said. "He would always make sure that the pitcher-batter matchup was in his favor somehow. And he manipulates it."
For more from Morse on what it was like playing for Bochy, what he remembers most about his famous NLCS homer, and his future plans with Hunter Pence, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.