PITTSBURGH -- Winning the job as the Giants' Opening Day right fielder came with no guarantees for John Bowker.
The Giants optioned Bowker to Triple-A Fresno to clear roster room for outfielder Pat Burrell, whose contract was purchased Friday from Fresno.
Bowker, who hit .312 with a team-leading six home runs and 23 RBIs in Spring Training, couldn't approach that pace in the regular season, much less maintain it. He was soon eclipsed in performance by Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres. Moreover, Buster Posey's promotion from Fresno prompted Aubrey Huff's shift to left field and promised to deny Bowker even more activity.
"His at-bats were going to be very limited," manager Bruce Bochy said of Bowker, 26. "We're not changing anything with him. Right now, he just needs to play."
In 41 games with the Giants this year, Bowker hit .207 with three home runs and eight RBIs.
He started 11 games in left field and seven in right.