Panik at ease batting in No. 2 spot

Second baseman returns to 'comfortable' place in lineup after Nunez trade

July 26th, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Panik was back hitting at the No. 2 spot in Giants manager Bruce Bochy's lineup during Wednesday's 2-1 series win over the Pirates -- a spot at which he's batted for most of his career, and one at which the veteran second baseman is quite comfortable.

A day after the Giants traded to the Red Sox, Bochy shook up San Francisco's batting order slightly and moved Panik back behind leadoff man .

"I like hitting up in the order in the two-hole," Panik said. "In reality it doesn't really matter where you hit, you have to kind of stay within yourself. But for me, I've spent the past few years in the two-hole, so I'm kind of comfortable there."

Bochy has used Panik up and down the order this season, though he has not batted cleanup or at No. 5. Panik has played 30 games while hitting second and another 29 while hitting seventh, a spot he'd been at for much of the previous two weeks until Nunez was traded.

Panik, who hit a bases-loaded triple on Tuesday, certainly looked at home in the second spot. He doubled off Pittsburgh starting pitcher in the first inning. After taking third on a wild pitch, Panik scored the Giants' first run on 's fielder's choice grounder.

"It was nice to kind of get things rolling early today," Panik said. "Any part in the order, you can do some damage. It's the opportunities. You got [Brandon] Belt, Buster [Posey] and Craw behind you, Denard [Span] getting on base right now a lot, so it's a good place to be hitting."

While Bochy likes using Panik at No. 2, it's possible, if not likely, that he will be moved back down in the order and may even get a day off when the Giants open a three-game series against the Dodgers on Friday. Los Angeles is scheduled to start Alex Wood, Rich Hill and in the three games, all left-handers.

"That's where [Panik is] accustomed to hitting," Bochy said. "[Nunez] did such a good job hitting over .300, speed, which we needed at the top of the order trying to figure [out] ways to manufacture runs. We're facing three lefties, so I'll do a matchup thing and see where we're at."