SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — No Giants player — maybe no big-league player — period, had so much dumped on his plate, and so suddenly, as Eli Whiteside in 2011.
Because of the horrendous injury suffered by Buster Posey, Whiteside had to fill in as the starting catcher.Nobody ended up confusing the pair, as Whiteside hit .197 and struggled with throwing out runners.
“I think I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Whiteside said. “It was tough losing a guy like Buster, our starter and 4-hole hitter.
“I didn’t want that to be the reason we didn’t get back to the playoffs. I think I was ... just trying to do too much, I guess.”
Mostly, Whiteside struggled with arm problems. And so, “I don’t think I was ever really confident being behind the plate. It was kind of obvious that teams realized that and took advantage of that when I was out there.”
To ensure this doesn’t happen again, Whiteside has been working on getting his arm strength “back to where I think it should be, to where I can be comfortable and confident behind the plate and play my game.”
Manager Bruce Bochy’s diagnosis that Tim Lincecum’s back stiffness was no big deal seems on the mark.
Lincecum did conditioning work and some long tosses Wednesday. If he feels OK, he’ll throw a bullpen session today.
“It’s pretty normal for spring training to have some stiffness in the back,” Bochy said. “I thought he’d be fine today.”
Bochy gave Brian Wilson an extra day of rest by pushing his bullpen session back to today.
Speculation is that left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander Clay Hensley are competing for the final bullpen spot. Bochy, though careful to say, “There are some other names,” didn’t exactly deny it’s between those two.
“We will have a spot that’s probably competitive. ... Hensley can help us out. Runzler gives us another left-hander,” Bochy said. “The thing I like is we’ve kept this staff intact. ... It’s going to go down to the wire before we pick that last guy.”
Position players continued to roll in Wednesday, including infielders Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, before Friday’s first full-squad workout.
Wednesday’s workout didn’t last much more than 90 minutes.
Bochy said he’s running the workouts, which start at 10 a.m. at Scottsdale Stadium and are open to the public, pretty much like he has in the past.
“Pitchers get their throwing in, catchers hit. ... These are short days until the full squad gets here,” he said.
KEEPING IT LIGHT
Bochy poked fun at the talkative Jeremy Affeldt. When somebody asked the manager about the reliever’s health — in a household mishap, he accidentally cut himself last season — Bochy replied Affeldt was fine, though, “He’s probably icing his jaw right now, but other than that he feels great.”