Garneau delivers in 'whirlwind' debut for A's

Catcher, claimed off waivers, was added to roster Saturday

Garneau delivers in 'whirlwind' debut for A's

ANAHEIM -- Dustin Garneau's first day of work for the A's on Saturday was stacked with a few challenges. Fresh off being claimed off waivers from the Rockies, Garneau had little time to get acclimated to Oakland's clubhouse, let alone figure out the pitching style of rookie pitcher Paul Blackburn.

Garneau was added to the roster earlier in the day, replacing Ryan Lavarnway as the A's backup catcher after Lavarnway was designated for assignment. Manager Bob Melvin quickly inserted Garneau, a right-handed hitter, into Saturday night's lineup to face Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs.

Garneau spoke with the A's pitching coaches and sat down with Blackburn for about 30 minutes, going over video of the Angels' hitters. After that, a short bullpen session with Blackburn gave Garneau all he needed. The result: A 5-0 win over the Angels on Saturday night at Angel Stadium, aided by Garneau and Blackburn developing a chemistry throughout the game. Blackburn threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up five hits, which made life simpler for Garneau.

"Paul, he made it easy for me," Garneau said. "He was spotting up, he has a heavy sink. It was a fun day to catch him."

Garneau, 29, said he lives about four miles from Angel Stadium and had 20 family members on hand to watch his A's debut. Garneau's family had something to cheer about in the fourth inning, when Garneau drove a 76-mph curveball from Skaggs for a two-run single to left, giving the club a 3-0 lead.

"You don't want to suck right out of the gate," Garneau said. "Not only is it pressure, but you definitely want to show these guys that you can at least call a good game. The two RBIs is just a bonus at the top."

Garneau, 29, made the Rockies' Opening Day roster but was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque after hitting .206 with a homer and six RBIs in 22 games. He was drafted in 2009 in the 19th round by Colorado out of Cal State Fullerton, where he played college ball with A's center fielder Khris Davis.

Most of the season for Garneau has been spent in the Minors, playing for Albuquerque, where he threw out 14 of 29 baserunners attempting to steal.

"I was really impressed," Melvin said. "It's one thing coming to a new team and getting there that day and being in the lineup, it's another thing calling a shutout with four different pitchers. He looks to be a real true catch-and-throw guy."

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.