SAN FRANCISCO -- The first half of the Giants' season is thankfully behind them, and manager Bruce Bochy is healthy and bullish about his club's play the rest of the way.Bochy will have left-hander Madison Bumgarner back on the mound against the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday, the ace
SAN FRANCISCO -- The first half of the Giants' season is thankfully behind them, and manager Bruce Bochy is healthy and bullish about his club's play the rest of the way.
Bochy will have left-hander Madison Bumgarner back on the mound against the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday, the ace recovered from the dirt-bike accident and injury to his left shoulder.
At least that's a good start.
"That's the great thing about this game," Bochy said before the All-Star break in his office at AT&T Park. "There's so many great people to work with and so many different things to experience."
Winning and losing is significant, but feeling good is the most important thing. Bochy said he's completely recovered from an April heart procedure, his third in the past two years.
Despite a 34-56 record at the break, Bochy is doing well.
"My health is fine," Bochy said. "I could go out there and do 10 laps. Want to go with me?"
That didn't happen. Bochy instead went inside to talk strategy with his staff. He spent the break at home in San Diego and where the Giants open Friday against the Padres, a team he played with as a backup catcher for five seasons and managed for 12 years before departing to head the Giants in 2007.
Bochy has been in San Francisco for 11 seasons, and his 23 years in a row at the helm of the two clubs are the most in Major League Baseball for any active manager.
Many of Bochy's friends in baseball certainly are concerned about him. They reason that he's won the World Series three times since 2010 with this team and doesn't need all the pressure and stress. But with two more seasons left on his contract, he's intent on helping the Giants climb out of this malaise.
"That is if they want me," Bochy said with a bit of mischief in his eyes.
When told that he could hardly be blamed for the club's current state of affairs, Bochy responded, "We've been bad. We've had a lot of problems. This just didn't start this season. It goes back to last year."
Since the All-Star break of 2016, the Giants have lost 98 games, although a spirited run at the end of that season secured the National League's second Wild Card berth on the final day. The Giants defeated the Mets in the Wild Card Game at Citi Field, but lost a four-game NL Division Series to the Cubs when their bullpen finished a season-long collapse.
At 27 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers this season, the Giants haven't been this far out at this time of the year since 1902.
Bochy is well aware that managers have been dismissed for a lot less. But he is the most successful manager in the club's history since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, matching the three World Series titles won by John McGraw when the Giants were still in New York early in the 20th century.
It's not as if Bochy and general manager Bobby Evans didn't see this coming as Spring Training broke. Third base and left field were and still are quagmires. Johnny Cueto was late to camp at Scottsdale Stadium because his father had visa issues getting out of the Dominican Republic.
Bullpen problems carrying over from last season were not completely resolved despite the signing of free agent closer Mark Melancon, who, at the cost of $62 million over four years, has been hurt and ineffective in his first few months for the Giants.
And then Bumgarner fell off a dirt-bike during an off-day in Colorado. His return may be the best news the team has had since Pablo Sandoval caught the last out of Game 7 of the 2014 World Series to defeat Kansas City.
"It's going to be great to have him back," Bochy said about his money pitcher.
Bochy's health became germane again last week after Indians skipper Terry Francona underwent a cardiac ablation to correct a rapidly accelerating heartbeat, forcing him to miss managing the American League in the All-Star Game.
Bochy, suffering from similar symptoms, underwent the same procedure in mid-April and said he was going to reach out to Francona during the break.
Bochy said he felt light-headed at the time he underwent the procedure, which is meant to destroy tissue that causes electric signals to speed up the heart rate. But he missed only two games April 18-19 against the Royals in Kansas City.
Bochy's situation is complicated by the fact that during Spring Training of 2015, he had two stents inserted to open clogged arteries leading to his heart.
Then last August when the club was in Miami, Bochy was taken to the hospital and had a procedure called a cardioversion, which restores a regular heartbeat by sending electric shocks to the heart through electrodes placed on the chest, the Mayo Clinic explained on its website.
"That was a little scary, Bochy said.
Bochy is a big man with even bigger ambitions. He's well aware that his father, Gus, died at 65 of a heart attack. Bochy, 62 now, takes his medications and precautions.
And keeps managing.
"It's what I love to do," Bochy said. "I'm still hungry. I want to win again. What else would I do?"
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.