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Panik returns, Pence is nigh, and Pablo is... the backup shortstop

I tellsya, there’s never a dull moment with these Giants.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies
Just imagine this is happening between third base and second base.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

You know by now that before each and every Giants’ game there are a bunch of reports from the team’s various beat writers, almost always concerning a transaction for the major league team and usually some sort of injury update to go along with it. The Giants have... not been shy about making roster transactions and the spate of injuries to befall them all season has necessitated frequented injury updates, too (keeping this site’s speculation machine running without much of a break).

Well, get ready for tonight’s flurry of moves, because they’re a bit of a doozy. You already knew that Madison Bumgarner is expected to return next week, and in all of those reports Joe Panik’s return usually gets tacked on as well. No longer the case! Joe Panik returns tonight, he’ll be playing second base and batting leadoff.

The corresponding roster move was to option Kelby Tomlinson, the team’s sole backup shortstop, to Single-A San Jose (and after this weekend’s series, might go to either Triple-A Sacramento or rejoin the team, depending on need and roster flexibility). Which means...

I, too, cracked upon as I read that information. It’s so perfectly in line with everything that’s happened in 2018 and another chapter of Pablo Sandoval’s legacy. Make no mistake, there is a legacy, and part of it now involves pitching and playing the middle infield when only a comic book artist would dare to imagine such a thing.

Of course, we watch baseball specifically for stuff like this. The guy playing out of position to help the team in anyway he can is pure underdog stuff and it’s supposed to be part of the fun of watching all these games. in this very specific instance, though, if Pablo Sandoval winds up playing shortstop, it will be because Brandon Crawford has been taken out of the game, which would only happen if he’s been injured. Most likely. I’m sure Bochy might get crafty with a righty-lefty matchup at some point (although the Phillies have only one lefty in their bullpen at the moment), anything’s possible, but if Pablo winds up playing shortstop in a non-shift situation... there’s gonna be a lot of sadness on the other side of the joy of watching him play there.

Meanwhile, Mark Melancon was activated for tonight as well and Hunter Pence will be back tomorrow. So, that’s how the weekend will shake out... but until Alen Hanson returns... the backup middle infielder is Pablo Emilio Sandoval.