SAN FRANCISCO -– Giants catcher Hector Sanchez, who has taken several direct hits to the mask this season, absorbed a particularly vicious one Friday night and was taken out after three innings.
Sanchez staggered backward after a foul tip off Adrian Gonzalez’s bat hit him on the side of his hockey-style mask in the top of the third inning. A trainer attended to him for several minutes, grabbing a hold of Sanchez’s chest protector while trying to maintain eye contact.
Sanchez remained in the game and finished the inning, then struck out while leading off the bottom of the third. But he continued to wear a glazed expression in the dugout, then abruptly ran down the stairs. First baseman Buster Posey replaced Sanchez behind the plate to begin the fourth inning, with Tyler Colvin entering the game in left field and Michael Morse moving to first base.
Sanchez’s nickname is “iman,” the Spanish word for magnet, because of all the shots he takes behind the plate -– particularly when he’s catching Tim Lincecum. Bochy made Sanchez and Lincecum a regular pairing in part to save Posey, the team’s best hitter, the wear and tear.