San Francisco Giants 9, Atlanta Braves 0: Catchers dominate the headlines (good and bad)

San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, left, doubles to score teammate Gregor Blanco in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, July 17, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

BOX SCORE

Buster Posey wanted to put his first big-league regular-season series in his home state of Georgia behind him.

That came in 2010, when he went 1 for 11 against the Atlanta Braves.

Two years later, Buster was back in Georgia (having missed the 2011 visit because of his ankle injury), and he was bustin’ out.

Posey went 3 for 5 with a double and five RBI as the Giants opened a six-game road trip to with a rout of the Braves.

Posey’s three-run double was the big blow in a six-run fourth inning for the Giants.

Posey started the game at first base, even after earlier in the day expressing confidence in his ability to catch Barry Zito or anyone on the Giants staff.

“Listen,” he said, “I’ve got the utmost confidence in myself that I can catch anybody. I’ve never questioned that. I’ve caught (Tim Lincecum) plenty and had a lot of success with him. I haven’t caught Barry as much as Timmy, but I’m definitely comfortable with him as well.”

Posey got his chance to catch Zito when Sanchez left the game in the fourth inning with a strained left knee.

Zito, who threw seven shutout innings Tuesday, quipped: “Me and Buster were joking around. I said ‘You probably sniggered him because you wanted to work with me.’ “

Posey will be working with all Giants pitchers for the near future as Sanchez is sidelined, although early reports are that the injury is not considered serious.

Sanchez will get an MRI Wednesday morning, so the Giants will know more then. But for now, they are not planning any roster moves.

“We’re hoping for the best,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We think it’s just a couple games. We’re hopeful it’s what we think it is.”

In the meantime, Pablo Sandoval, who has not caught a big-league game since 2009, becomes the No. 2 catcher on the roster, followed by Emmanuel Burriss.

If the Giants eventually find a need for another catcher, the logical choice is Eli Whiteside, despite Twitters calls for Tommy Joseph or Andrew Susac. And there are plenty of reasons why.

  • Whiteside is on the 40-man roster. Joseph and Susac are not. Bringing up Whiteside would not require a corresponding move on the 40-man roster.
  • Calling up Joseph or Susac would also start burning their player options and begin their arbitration clock. Having already done that with the young Sanchez (22), they would not want to do that with the equally young Joseph (21) or Susac (22).
  • While Whiteside is only hitting .241 at Triple-A Fresno, Joseph and Susac aren’t batting much better. Joseph is hitting .255 at Double-A Richmond and Susac .226 at Class A San Jose.
  • Whiteside is hitting .400 over his past eight games (10 for 25).
  • But offensive production is a plus when you’re talking about backup catcher. The bigger plus is defensive ability. Whiteside has that big-league experience. Joseph and Susac are still learning.
  • The pitching staff is comfortable with Whiteside, with all of the starters and most of the bullpen having worked with him in the past.
  • Given the nature of the injury and how the backup would be used, we’re talking about a limited stint with the Giants, maybe 2-3 starts if Sanchez eventually lands on the DL. The Giants would rather keep their young catchers where they are and playing regularly than sitting on the bench with the big club.

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