SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the Giants' loose demeanor off the field and how they've grown used to celebrating close games late into the night, the scene in the home clubhouse at AT&T Park on Wednesday night and Thursday morning was nothing short of jarring.
An unusual silence hung over San Francisco's club Wednesday night following Buster Posey's injury in the 12th inning of a loss to the Marlins, and even with the veterans warmly greeting the three players brought onto the roster before Thursday's game, there was still a palpable level of nervousness and concern for the club's young star.
"It felt like a morgue in here when you walked in today," first baseman Aubrey Huff said.
With Posey out of commission for an extended period of time, the Giants are reeling, trying to deal with the disappointment of playing without their star catcher, the cleanup hitter and a highly respected friend.
"Obviously to lose a player like Buster, it's always tough. Not only losing his bat, but his presence," Huff said. "He's just a good human being and great in the clubhouse. It's certainly tough."
When asked if he felt like the entire Giants clubhouse was in a state of shock Wednesday night, right-hander Matt Cain responded, "It definitely was. When such a key part of your lineup, your team, gets injured, it's definitely a shock. You just keep replaying the situation over and over. ... It's one of those things where we're hoping this can all go by quickly so he can go back to [being] Buster."
Once the initial shock wears off, the Giants will need to find a way to fill the void left by Posey, whether he returns this season or next year. His .284 average, .368 on-base percentage, .389 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs would be difficult enough to replace in any lineup, much less on a team that has scored the fewest runs in the National League this season -- and the second-fewest in the Majors, ahead of only the Twins.
"It's obviously disheartening to lose our starting catcher and our four-hole hitter," catcher Eli Whiteside said. "It's tough, but everyone's just got to step up."
With Posey out, Whiteside will step in as the club's primary catcher. He hasn't been an everyday player since his time with Triple-A Fresno, he said, but with the promotion of Chris Stewart, it seems unlikely that he will have to shoulder the same load as Posey. Whiteside also knows he can't attempt to match what Posey meant to the team in terms of offense, defense and chemistry.
"I'm not going to try to be Buster. He's our four-hole hitter and playing every day," Whiteside said. "I'm just going to go out there and do my best, and not trying to be Buster but playing to the best of my ability."
While the Giants have expressed full confidence in Whiteside and Stewart to handle the club's talent-rich pitching staff and provide serviceable hitting, Whiteside admitted it won't be the same without Posey in the lineup and behind the plate on an everyday basis.
"Eli's going to step in and do the exact same thing [defensively]. Stewart is the same guy. Both of those guys are great defensive catchers," Cain said. "They'll do some things to hit as well."
And the belief that permeated throughout San Francisco's clubhouse Thursday afternoon, even after a tough 1-0 loss to the Marlins, was that this club knows how to bounce back from the lowest of lows -- and the players fully believe they can do it this time as well.
"I think we've got professionals that know how to play and know how to win," right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. "And I think we'll get it done. We'll see what happens."
"This club has done very well with adversity, and this certainly is a time that we're being tested," added Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We're still a pretty good ballclub. It hurts that we lose Buster, but we've still got to find a way to hopefully win ballgames. ... The rest of the guys know they're going to have to turn up their game to help soften this blow."
Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.