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Quiroz quickly forging bond with Giants pitchers


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If experience is the best teacher, then Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz should have a Masters degree in baseball.

Quiroz, 31, has played professionally since 1999, less than a year after Toronto signed him as a non-drafted free agent. He has played for five Major League teams, including two stints with Seattle. Since reaching the Majors with Toronto in 2004, Quiroz has hit .206 in 103 Major League appearances.

Quiroz's knack for bonding quickly with pitchers has enabled him to remain employed, though he has almost always been a backup catcher, even in the Minors.

"From Day 1, you start creating that relationship," Quiroz said on Saturday. "If you're behind the plate, they want to be able to trust what [signs] you put down."

Playing for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League last offseason, Quiroz got the attention of Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, who managed the league's Margarita club. The Giants needed veteran catching depth after dropping Eli Whiteside early in the offseason. Quiroz filled the void by signing with the Giants on Nov. 20.

He will probably will begin the season with Triple-A Fresno. But if Quiroz receives a promotion at some juncture -- Hector Sanchez's shoulder woes could create an opening -- he knows he'll feel comfortable with the Giants.

"It's a great group of guys," he said. "They're humble, they have great chemistry and it feels great to be part of this team."

Left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner implied that Quiroz's presence has been more than welcome.

"He's smart. He knows the game, knows how to catch," Bumgarner said. "It's tough right now because we're doing stuff you wouldn't ordinarily do during the season. But I like throwing to him."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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