SAN FRANCISCO - The Giants want the next month to be a learning experience for Aramis Garcia, and they left no doubt about how important that is when they found him a spot in the clubhouse. Garcia's new locker is tucked right between Buster Posey's and Madison Bumgarner's. He'll have a chance to soak up big league knowledge from the moment he arrives every day.
Garcia, a second-round pick in 2014, was officially called up Sunday morning when Posey went on the disabled list. Posey will have hip surgery Monday, and Garcia will spend the next month backing up Nick Hundley. Manager Bruce Bochy said Garcia will spend a lot of time with Eli Whiteside during games, learning what it takes to catch at this level. Others, including Bochy, will check in as needed.
"You don't want to overload him. You want him to also be loose and relaxed here," Bochy said. "This is a process. You don't want to throw too much at him at the beginning."
For his part, Garcia, 25, is ready to be overloaded. He spent some time with Hundley on Sunday morning and hopes to do the same with Posey once he returns and starts rehabbing. Garcia regularly exchanges messages with former Giants coach Billy Hayes, now an instructor in the system, and said that has helped quite a bit.
Garcia is hitting just .233 this season and had just one extra-base hit in 38 at-bats after a promotion to Triple-A, but he hit 15 homers in his first full professional season and 17 last year, and the Giants are hopeful that's still in there. His numbers ticked up in June and July before a promotion to Triple-A. Slowed by a facial fracture and concussions in 2016 and 2017, Garcia is now more advanced with the glove than the bat.
"He's ready to catch here," Bochy said. "I firmly believe that. The hitting part is going to be a work in progress, but he has gap power, he's a threat up there."
For the most part, that will be seen in limited action. Hundley will get most of the time in September, but Garcia is certainly auditioning for a 2019 role. Given the uncertainty with Posey, the Giants will have another veteran on the roster next season - Hundley or someone else - but there's a chance Garcia can show enough that the Giants decide they don't need to keep looking elsewhere. If Posey isn't ready by opening day, a Hundley/Garcia combo could get the Giants through a few weeks.
It's up to the rookie to show he's ready for that, and on Sunday he said he's excited about the opportunity. After speaking to reporters, he ran out to the field to start playing catch with his new teammates.
"I'm just keeping my ears open," he said. "Soak it all in and absorb as much as possible."