Joe Panik Hits the 15-Day DL


Sunday, the San Francisco Giants lost in a lackluster performance against the Texas Rangers 2-1. The Giants were without their All-Star second baseman, Joe Panik, who had been dealing with some lower back stiffness. Before the three-game weekend series against the Rangers, manager Bruce Bochy kept Panik out for a couple days rest to get his second baseman back to good health. Playing the first two games, Panik pumped out two doubles in a 9-7 win on Saturday. But something didn’t seem right.

After missing three games this past week, an official report came out Monday morning as Panik was placed on the 15-day DL.

Second base was an issue dating back to last season, as the organization turned to the minor league system and relied on the call-up of the former St. John’s standout. Now injured, Bochy’s lineup takes a hit once again with second base being the focus again.

Panik’s replacement is Kelby Tomlinson, whose contract was purchased to fill in for the next two to three weeks roughly. Currently on the roster, Giants have Ehire Adrianza, who replaced Joaquin Arias and has become the utility man off the bench. While known for defense, lack of signs of life from Adrianza’s bat is a concern.

As for Tomlinson, he has been a pleasant surprise in the minor leagues this year. Beginning the year in Double A-Richmond, Tomlinson worked his way up to Triple A-Sacramento, where his breakout season has continued. Initially labeled as a shortstop, Tomlinson also has earned eligibility at third base and second base, where he defensively has had a good glove, committing only seven errors.

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Batting-wise, between both levels, Tomlinson is batting .321 with 64 runs scored, 21 stolen bases, 19 doubles, four triples, 32 walks, and only 59 strikeouts in 389 at-bats.

Based by the numbers, Tomlinson looks like a top of the order type of hitter who relies on his speed and has a patient plate approach (32 walks to 59 strike outs).

Panik was having an outstanding season offensively and defensively until he was designated to the disabled list on Monday. Panik’s numbers are:

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.309 BA, 56 runs scored, seven home-runs, 35 RBI, 25 doubles, two triples, 37 walks, and 42 strike outs in 375 at-bats.

Jul 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik (12) takes batting practice before the game between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive numbers – 2 errors in 96 games, .996 fielding percentage (highest in baseball among second baseman)

Losing Panik to the DL couldn’t come at a worse time. Giants are in the hunt for yet another postseason run, as they currently hold the second wildcard spot and remain behind the Los Angeles Dodgers by 2.5 games in the division.

Dodgers went out and added more depth to their rotation and bullpen at the trade deadline, as the Giants made a lone acquisition in Mike Leake.

Leake had an impressive start in his debut for the Giants, but it was spoiled by the Rangers two runs and his own team’s vanishing bats.

At the top of the lineup, Panik was holding the second spot down, in RBI opportunities or by getting on base. Already being one of the league’s best defensive teams, Panik’s absence will test the defense and will call for his fill-ins – Adrianza and Tomlinson – to be efficient.

Back injuries have not been kind to the Giants for the last few years as Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan were the main victims to the ailment.

There is still two full months left in the 2015, so it is still far too early in the season to start fully panicking over Panik’s injury. In the past, Giants have dealt with adversity in mysterious ways. Last season, Matt Cain and Pagan went down, and other guys stepped up to compete at the level as if those players never were out of the lineup.

Giants passed on Ben Zobrist last season, and Panik himself, surprised the Giants’ fans with the call-up and solidifying the second base job. Losing no prospects, Panik saved the day.

Panik has continued his success from last season, and once eligible to return from the DL, should reclaim the position where he has performed as an All-Star in 2015. The inflammation in Panik’s back will get time to fully heal over the next few weeks.

The season is not yet lost for the Giants, just a bump in the road, as they look to use their magic to overcome adversity once again.

Next: The Madison Bumgarner Situation Has Gone Too Far