Urban: Giants' Whiteside under the gun

May 30, 2011, 4:53 pm
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May 30, 2011

It's your gig, Eli Whiteside. Your time to shine. To prove you deserve the faith Giants general manager Brian Sabean says he has in you. Oh, and a little friendly advice: Make it snappy. Faith has a way of dissolving in a steady stream of 0-for-4's -- especially when they're coming amidst steady such streams from elsewhere in the lineup, and the reigning champs are soaking their way around the Midwest in that manner as we speak.Until Sunday, surely the Giants and their fans held out at least feint hopes that if the team were to reach the playoffs this fall, Buster Posey would ride in on a majestic white stallion, tell everybody to climb aboard and gallop, full-steed ahead, toward a successful defense of the world championship. Not even Posey's miniature press conference Friday, when he conceded it was "highly likely" that his season was over, fully extinguished the aforementioned hopes.After all, he's Buster Posey. The Giants' very own Chuck Norris, for crying out loud. Their Most Interesting Man in the Clubhouse. Surely he'd be able to conjure some sort of sorcery should his services be desperately needed come October.But then came Sunday and a big dose of reality in the form of another miniature press conference, this one hosted by a far less interesting but no less important man in the Giants' scheme of things. Head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner made it crystal clear that there will be no channeling Willis Reed for Buster Ballgame. No dramatic return, however short-lived, to the lineup. Not this year, anyway. Opening Day 2012, said the man they call "Gresh." That's probably the best-case scenario.LISTEN: Posey's post-surgery conference call
And so it's officially time for everyone associated with the Orange & Black to think more clearly and objectively than ever about LWB -- life without Buster. For the rest of the season.First up, Whiteside. The pitchers love him, and he gets bonus points for not just taking Prince Fielder's best shot -- and a cheap shot it was, with that forearm coming in way too close to Whiteside's melon -- but for giving Prince a bit of a punching after the fact.Alas, Whiteside is a career minor leaguer and big-league backup for a reason. He's a tad challenged offensively. That's the widely held perception, anyway, and there's only one way Whiteside can change it.If he doesn't, his rope will get shorter in direct correlation with the Giants' spot in the National League West standings.And if he doesn't, who's after Whiteside? It's not going to be Chris Stewart. Same issues as with Whiteside offensively.THE BIG URBCAST: Are the Giants' minor league catchers ready?
It's not going to be Pablo Sandoval, either. He's already said he has zero interest in catching when he gets back from hand surgery.Bengie Molina? It'd be a heck of a story, and Bengie says he's up for it, but there might be some bad blood between him and the organization, particularly Sabean, whom Molina pot-shotted after being traded to Texas last year. Then again, desperation occasionally ends up being the Clorox that cleans up bad blood. Stay tuned.LWB, at the very least, will be fascinating.

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