SAN FRANCISCO -- Eli Whiteside didn't hesitate when a reporter asked him what was more unlikely, his catching a no-hitter or Jonathan Sanchez's throwing one. "Probably me catching one," Whiteside said.
Perhaps, but that's the way this season has unfolded for Whiteside, 29, whose only prior Major League experience was a nine-game stint with Baltimore in 2005. This was the 26th Major League game for Whiteside, who was promoted from Triple-A Fresno on May 24. Under most circumstances, Whiteside wouldn't even have been playing Friday night for the San Francisco Giants, as Sanchez no-hit the San Diego Padres, 8-0. Bengie Molina, the Giants' regular starting catcher, was excused to be with his wife, who was in labor. So Whiteside had the privilege of being on history's receiving end, literally. Whiteside liked what he saw from Sanchez while catching him in pregame warmups.
"I told him, take that stuff out to the game," Whiteside said.Obviously, Sanchez did. "After the first few innings, he had unbelievable stuff," Whiteside said. "That's what he's capable of. And he was able to put it together tonight." Sanchez credited Whiteside for his guidance. "Sometimes I got under the ball and he said, 'Come to me. Throw the ball to me,'" Sanchez related. Whiteside, who also went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, deflected the praise. "I wasn't out there throwing the ball," he said. "I was just putting down fingers."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.