ATLANTA For a backup catcher, Hector Sanchez hasexperienced a full measure of foul tips, collisions, shots off the mask andother contusion-creating mishaps behind the plate.
Trainers have to wear their distance-running shoes whenSanchez starts behind the plate.
His injury Tuesday night was the strangest yet -- but not terribly serious, theGiants hope. Sanchez sprained his left knee on thebasepaths while making a sudden move to first base on a pickoff throw. He willgo for an MRI exam Wednesday morning but Dr. Ken Akizukis initial diagnosiswas that the injury was not significant; Giants manager Bruce Bochy said theclub did not plan to call up another catcher as a precaution, even though thirdbaseman Pablo Sandoval would be the backup to Buster Posey if Sanchez issidelined.
Were hoping for the best, Bochy said. We think its justa couple games. Were hopeful its what we think it is.
Sanchez, who had his knee checked on Friday due to mild discomfort, said he felt better after the game. But at the timehe shuffled to first, it hurt so bad. When I tried to run, I couldnt.
Sanchez managed to keep his sense of humor when askedif hed lend Sandoval his catching gear; the Panda hasnt caught an inningsince 2009, when he started three games behind the plate.
If he wants to use it, he can use mine, Sanchez said.
Sanchezs departure in the fourth inning meant that Posey moved from first base and worked with Barry Zito for the first time sincespring training. Zito logged three shutout innings with Sanchez and four withPosey.
Me and Buster were joking around, Zito said. I said, Youprobably snipered him because you wanted to work with me.
Zito paid a compliment to both catchers, saying that Poseykept him in the same flow.
We didnt skip a beat, Zito said. He was calling the samepitches Hector was. I just hope the injury to Hector isnt too serious and hecan get back out there in a few days.
If the Giants find they need another catcher, they couldalways recall Eli Whiteside the only other catcher on the 40-man roster -- fromTriple-A Fresno and perhaps send down another player such as Justin Christian ratherthan disable Sanchez.
Top prospect Tommy Joseph, who hit a home run on his 21stbirthday earlier in the week, is geographically closer to the club at Double-A Richmond butthe Giants probably dont want him lingering on the bench in the big leagues, nor would they want to purchase his contract prematurely.