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Joe Panik, Kelby Tomlinson return, Johnny Cueto, Pablo Sandoval head to DL

The only certainty this season has been all the uncertainty.

San Franciso Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After Pablo Sandoval pulled his hamstring scoring from third base yesterday, we knew he’d probably find himself on the disabled list, which was confirmed today. Taking his spot will be either Joe Panik or Kelby Tomlinson, depending on how you want to look at it. Whoever you figure isn’t taking Sandoval’s spot is taking Johnny Cueto’s spot, because he’s back on the disabled list because of Saturday’s news —

The team held off on providing an update for his condition, and Alex Pavlovic’s post from an hour ago suggests that we might not learn Cueto’s fate until later this week after he goes in for another consultation. Whatever the outcome — rest or surgery — there’s a strong possibility that we’ve seen the last of Johnny Cueto in 2018.

There’s very little reason to bring him back and we just saw how his decision to pitch through the pain to help his team just made things worse. Discretion is the better part of valor, and the Giants have proclaimed that they are all about the valor — mainly because they will Never Rebuild, but also because they are loyal to their players. We’ll see what the team is really made of when it comes to a player’s health and the remaining value of a contract.

There’s no logical or illogical go-with-your-gut reason to pitch Johnny Cueto again this season, but never bet against the Giants’ ability to come up with a doozy of a whopper of an explanation should he get a few starts in September.

In the meantime, with Sandoval down, first base is a bit of an open question. The Giants don’t want to start Austin Slater every day, but he’ll get the start tonight until they sort out everything else. Certainly, it makes some sense to play Buster Posey there some more at this part of the season.

The trade deadline is approximately 20 hours from now and the Giants are without their #2 starting pitcher, their starting first baseman, their backup first baseman, a reliable left fielder, and Jeff Samardzija. We should probably put a lot of weight on Panik’s return because it very likely will make or break the season.

The Giants can’t hit — they need all the help they can get. Alen Hanson might not be a lights out left fielder, but playing him there with either Duggar or Hernandez in center gives the Giants as good a lineup as possible in Belt’s absence (provided Slater plays first base).

Anyway, here are tonight’s lineups:

UPDATE: Forgot to mention the most important detail — it was our very own Doug Bruzzone (groug, moonwalkmcfly, Doug B. Doug) who broke the news:

He’s really great (Doug, I mean; I’m sure Panik is fine) and is the closest this site has ever had to a genuine journalist or in-person correspondent. To which I say, Doug,,,, thank you.

UPDATE #2: And, yes,