Giants call up Fresno Grizzlies infielder Joe Panik, halt skid

Bee staff and news servicesJune 21, 2014 

— Consider it a successful debut for now-former Fresno Grizzlies second baseman Joe Panik.

The 23-year-old merely drew a walk as a late-game pinch hitter in his first major league game Saturday, but nonetheless was on hand as the San Francisco Giants snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-4 road victory over Arizona.

For most of Saturday, Panik watched from the dugout. It wasn't until late Friday, in New Orleans with the Triple-A Grizzlies, that Panik learned that his contract had been purchased by the parent club.

Panik, the Giants' 2011 first-round pick out of St. John's, immediately called his parents, though it was about 3 a.m. in New York, where they live.

"My mom gets on the speaker phone and asks, 'What's wrong?' " Panik was quoted by the San Jose Mercury News. "I told her this is the first good call you're getting at 3 a.m."

Panik's parents, Natalie and Paul, hurriedly booked a flight to Phoenix.

He arrived on time for pregame warm-ups after taking a commercial flight from New Orleans, where the Grizzlies were wrapping up a Pacific Coast League series.

His glove and bat, however, were running late, lost somewhere in his luggage.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy planned on sitting Panik on Saturday, anyway. But he is expected to start at second base for today's afternoon affair.

So Panik waited Saturday, showing some of the same patience he has displayed while steadily producing for the Grizzlies.

Panik was hitting .321 in 74 games with Fresno this season, with 14 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 45 RBIs and 50 runs. He is hitting .296 in four minor league seasons combined.

In addition, Panik had shown strong defense and consistency with the Grizzlies for at least a month.

The Giants had been in need of second base help since Marco Scutaro started the year on the disabled list. Brandon Hicks has provided plenty of power with eight home runs but sports a .172 average.

To make room for Panik, the Giants sent outfielder Juan Perez to Fresno and cleared a 40-man spot by designating reliever Jake Dunning for assignment.

Panik is expected to get time over Hicks, youngster Ehire Adrianza (.213) and veteran Joaquin Arias (.176).

"This is what you dream of as a kid," he said before the game. "It's good to take a step back and say this is why you're here; it's time to go help this team."

The Giants, reeling after an early-season run that saw them post baseball's best record, had Tyler Colvin drive in three runs while building leads of 4-0 and 5-2 before holding on.

It was 5-4 until Hunter Pence blasted a long homer in the sixth.

Arizona put two on in the ninth, but with runners at second and third and two out, Sergio Romo got slugger Paul Goldschmidt to line out to right.

• Aaron Hill (Redwood High) singled, doubled and drove in two for Arizona.

• San Francisco first baseman Michael Morse left with back tightness and may need one more full day of rest before returning.

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