ATLANTA Now that Eli Whiteside is the backup catcherinstead of Hector Sanchez for the time being, how will Giants manager BruceBochy divvy up the duties behind the plate?
Bochy said hell use the same criteria that he used before:Itll be subject to the schedule, to the pace of games and when Buster Poseyrequires a break from strapping on his shin guards.
Bochy said Posey could catch Tim Lincecum on Friday. OrWhiteside could catch him. It depends on a number of factors, one of which is thepotential for a rain delay and a long night at Turner Field this evening. (Ifthe Giants walk out of here at 1 a.m., then its a good bet Posey wouldntcatch Thursday afternoons series finale.)
I mentioned to Bochy that if he decides to have Whitesidework with Lincecum on Friday in Philadelphia, it would feed the perception thatthe manager is intentionally keeping Posey from catching the Giants strugglingformer ace.
Not at all, Bochy said. This is more ... We have theluxury of Buster being able to play first base. Theres a good chance hellcatch Timmy. Well see where hes at. But at some point, hes going to need aday. When he does, its probably with (Barry) Zito or Timmy. That doesnt meanI dont want him catching them. Thats just how its been to this point.
This is more a case of were looking for production atfirst base.
So yes, the Lincecum-Posey discussion is related to thewhy-doesnt-Bochy-like-Brandon-Belt discussion.
What does Bochy make of Belts return to a funk at theplate?
I think its fair to say Brandon is a little lost rightnow, Bochy said. Its timing and confidence again. I say this so many times:Theyll have their ups and downs, young players, and they have to learn to dealwith it.
I know hes working hard in the cage. At the same time, youvegot to get production from everywhere, especially first base. Our hope is hellget it going there and contribute to this offense.
If not, Belt could find some fresh competition very soon viathe trade market if he isnt traded himself. Thats not the craziest notionin the world, given his perceived value to other GMs and the Giants relativelack of blue-chip prospects.
Belt is hitting .163 with a .222 OBP in 18 games since his torrid, 11-game hitting streak ended in late June.
As for the decision to put Hector Sanchez on the DL, Bochysaid the backup catcher likely would be out five to seven days. Thats just toolong to go short, especially when the backup -- Pablo Sandoval is a guy whohasnt caught a big league game since 2009.
Whiteside has familiarity with the staff and is on the40-man roster, so he was an automatic choice. In fact, Bochy said it made themove to DL Sanchez a bit easier because all the pitchers already know Whitesideand feel comfortable throwing to him.
Whiteside's commercial flight is scheduled to land a few minutes before the first pitch and the Giants expect him to be in uniform at some point during the game.
The tarp came off the field roughly 45 minutes before the first pitch and the field is being groomed, but there remain some pretty bright streaks across the sky. The radar shows that the rain should hold up for a few hours. As they say, we have a window.