NEW YORK — The family members and friends who made the short trip from Hopewell Junction to Citi Field on Monday didn’t have to wait long to see Joe Panik take his swings. Panik made his sixth start in the leadoff spot, but the experiment likely will end soon.
Denard Span will start a rehab assignment with the San Jose Giants on Tuesday, and manager Bruce Bochy said it will be a short one.
“As soon as we think he’s ready, he’s going to be here,” Bochy said.
Bochy gave no indication that Span will return to a different spot. Span will go back to the leadoff spot in hopes of solving one of many current problems with this team. The Giants entered play Tuesday with a .201 batting average, .248 on-base and .266 slugging out of their leadoff hitters. Those, quite frankly, are numbers you would expect from a pitcher. The Giants have gotten an MLB-low 10 runs from the guys atop the lineup.
“With Span being out so much, you’ll always probably have a tough time finding that leadoff guy,” Bochy said. “But I think Joe is a good fit there. He sees pitches.”
Panik had two hits Monday, raising his average to .299. After originally having his second baseman in for the bottom of the lineup this season, Bochy indicated Panik will stay near the top when Span returns. Panik is hitting first again on Tuesday.
“There’s a good chance,” he said. “I know (Brandon) Belt has been going through struggles right now. Obviously it’s up to me to tweak that lineup if that continues. I could see Joe taking that (No. 2) spot.”
Regardless of where Panik, Span and the rest hit, the Giants will need more from Span upon his return from a shoulder injury. He's batting just .200 this season.
--- Span spent the Reds series in Arizona, along with the rest of the rehabbing Giants. Madison Bumgarner, Jarrett Parker and Aaron Hill are out there, and while Bumgarner and Parker are just beginning months of recovery, it sounds like Hill is looking at a long haul too. A second MRI showed there’s still “something there” in his forearm, Bochy said.
If you were wondering, the Hill injury was not one of convenience. He showed his forearm to reporters the day after he was put on the DL and the bruising was clear. Whenever Hill is ready, the Giants will have a tough time finding a spot. Span and Brandon Crawford are returning and Christian Arroyo isn’t going anywhere.
--- From last night, the goalposts are moving. Per Elias, this is the first time since 1991 that the Giants have the worst record in MLB in May or later.