Brian Bocock started the season on the Phillies 40 man roster and there were numerous times when fans questioned why he was there. And really, you couldn’t blame them; the IronPigs shortstop saw his average dip below the .200 mark a week into the season and it wouldn’t come back to that level until just over three months later.
If there was a plus to Bocock, it was his defense. Known for making the tough plays look easy and turning near impossible plays into something that looked just a small step above routine, Bocock never let his offensive woes disrupt him in the field.
“He doesn’t take his at-bats out to the infield with him,” said Dave Huppert, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager during the 2010 season.
Over July and August, few players on the Lehigh Valley roster were better all-around players than Bocock. After a short-lived stint with the Phillies when both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were on the DL, Bocock returned to Lehigh Valley not gaining any major league at-bats. The 25 year-old hit 3-14-.288-.410-.400 with Lehigh Valley, far above his first-half stats.
After his short stint in Philadelphia, Bocock actually was removed from the 40 man roster when he had to clear waivers to be reassigned to the IronPigs. Since there aren’t many clubs in search of a .179 hitting shortstop, Bocock went unclaimed and returned to the Lehigh Valley where he started to show off the new and improved version of himself. Now, with Rollins again hampered by an injury that appears worse than when it first occurred, the Phillies purchased his contract to give them an extra infielder off the bench. It’s unlikely that he’ll gain much playing time, but he gives the Phillies another option – especially defensively – to fill in for Rollins.
His time in the majors with the Phillies this season isn’t his first. In 2008, he started the season as the opening day shortstop for the San Francisco Giants, who were without Omar Vizquel, who started the season on the DL. Much like at Lehigh Valley, Bocock added no offense – a .143 average in 32 games – but at least held his own defensively until Vizquel returned. Just prior to camp this season, the Giants placed Bocock on waivers and he was claimed by Toronto, but lasted just three weeks in their organization before again being released and this time, joining the Phillies.
For Bocock, there is a downside to joining the Phillies, because it means he won’t be able to represent the U.S. in the PanAm Games, which begin October 1. For Bocock, the experience was going to be one that he would cherish throughout his life. “Playing for your country is something that you have to look forward to. I’m very proud of being a part of Team USA and I’m looking forward to the experience,” said Bocock just after the minor league season ended.
When October 1 gets here, Bocock will still be with the Phillies and will have gone through a major league pennant stretch with a club poised for a return to the World Series.