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Matheny critical of Cousins for hit on Posey

Photo by John Millikan

Photo by John Millikan

ST. LOUIS -- Former major league catcher Mike Matheny, whose career was ended by concussions, said the hit that knocked out the Giants' Buster Posey for the rest of the season could have easily been avoided.

"You know what, it wasn't a dirty play, he didn't come high spikes, he didn't come high elbow," Matheny said Monday. "But it wasn't a necessary play. He was hunting. Buster gave him an option and he didn't take it."

Posey, a Lee County native, is out for the season after having surgery Sunday to repair three torn ligaments in his ankle.

Matheny, 40, finished his career with San Francisco in 2007 and is a minor league instructor with St. Louis, where he played from 2000-04. He said that Florida's Scott Cousins went out of his way to take out Posey in a play at the plate last week.

Posey was injured when Cousins collided into him as the Giants catcher was attempting to catch a throw in San Francisco's 12th inning loss to the Marlins.

Posey was in immediate pain, something he had said hadn't subsided when he talked for the first time since the injury on Friday.

Matheny, who won four Gold Gloves, isn't in favor of rules changes to protect catchers and believes hard contact plays at the plate are just part of the game. But he said Cousins had an opening to slide while Posey was defenseless while awaiting a throw and instead hit him in the opposite shoulder.

"I don't think you legislate," Matheny said. "I think you just put a mark in the column that that kid took a run at a catcher. To me as a catcher I know the next time I get the ball I'm going to stick it to him.

"You make those notes as a catcher."

The collision has sparked a debate on if rules should be changed to better protect catchers at the plate. Posey felt Cousins could have slid around him but said it was a legal play.

Matheny said he made it to the major leagues by being tough-minded and showing pitchers he was willing to take hits.

"It turned into their confidence in me which turned into them asking for me to catch them, which gave me an opportunity to play," Matheny aid.

Matheny last played in 2006, missing the final four months of that season after taking several foul tips off his mask, and retired in 2007 after doctors warned him that he was susceptible to more damage if he received another blow. He said for the most part he's been symptom-free for 18 months, although if he overdoes an activity he might experience mild symptoms for a few days.