Former St. John's baseball standout Joe Panik made his major league debut over the weekend for the San Francisco Giants. And what a debut it was for the second baseman.
Panik appeared in the Giants' 6-4 win Saturday night as a pinch hitter and walked in his first official major league plate appearance. He started Sunday's game at second base and collected hit No. 1 when he stroked a line drive single to centerfield with two outs in the fifth inning off Arizona's Mike Bolsinger. Panik grounded out to first in his first at-bat of the game in the third inning.
Panik lined out to right field in his third at-bat in the eighth inning, but got another chance to do some damage in the ninth and took advantage of the opportunity. He hit an RBI double to centerfield to give the Giants a 4-0 lead. San Francisco eventually won 4-1.
Panik had been hitting well for Triple A Fresno in the Pacific Coast League when the Giants purchased his contract after Friday's loss, which was San Francisco's sixth straight. He was hitting .321 in 74 games for the Grizzlies with five home runs, 45 RBI and 50 runs scored. San Francisco made the move with offense in mind as it has not received any punch from second base.
Brandon Hicks has been playing second base for the Giants with Marco Scutaro on the disabled list with back issues. Hicks, however, is hitting just .172/.289/.339. in 56 games.
Overall, Giants' players appearing at second base this season have a .558 OPS. That is the fifth worst OPS in baseball as it relates to what other teams are getting from a position this year.