Whiteside ready for next chapter as Giants' bullpen catcher

Veteran turned down Minor League offer to pursue coaching career

Whiteside ready for next chapter as Giants' bullpen catcher

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As a catcher, Eli Whiteside grew accustomed to surveying the whole field. He certainly looked at the big picture when he decided to rejoin the Giants as their bullpen catcher.

Whiteside, who appeared in 199 games for the Giants from 2009-12, was offered the bullpen catcher's job after Bill Hayes, who held that role for 13 years, was promoted to first-base coach in December. Whiteside already had signed a Minor League contract with the Atlanta Braves. But, at age 35, Whiteside realistically considered how much longer he could continue to play, particularly if reaching the Majors wasn't part of the reward.

Whiteside accepted the Giants' offer after he and his wife, Amy, discussed the matter for a couple of days. Hoping to begin coaching after the conclusion of his active career, Whiteside said Monday, "I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to get started with what I'm going to be doing after I finished playing."

Performing at Triple-A for three different organizations in the previous three seasons exposed Whiteside to dealing with younger players and furthered his desire to coach.

"Especially with this organization, with people I like and people I know, knowing most of the players still -- it felt like it was a good fit for me," Whiteside said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.