MIAMI -- Eli Whiteside has caught some very good pitchers during his career with the Giants, and he said he's having a lot of fun working with the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija.
"He's unique in that he's one of the taller pitchers I've caught," Whiteside said Wednesday of the 6-foot-5 right-hander. "He's got good stuff and goes after the hitters. That's one of his strengths, is being aggressive in the strike zone. He's got good pitches to work with. He's a lot of fun to catch."
On Tuesday, Samardzija scattered seven hits over six innings against the Marlins and was in line for the win, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead. What impressed Whiteside was how strong Samardzija was in the late innings of his outing.
"We talked about it during the game, and even before the game," Whiteside said. "He felt so good early in the game. The best innings he threw were his last two innings -- not that he got tired -- but he was able to get his stuff back in the strike zone. I felt the last two innings he threw were his best innings."
Whiteside caught Samardzija once in Spring Training, but he has been matched up with him since Welington Castillo was sidelined with a rib injury. And apparently Whiteside isn't following all the trade chatter about Samardzija, who could be dealt.
"One thing in this game is you can't worry about is outside stuff," Whiteside said. "You just take care of stuff on the field, and the other things will happen when they happen."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.