Panik working at second to increase versatility

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Strictly a shortstop in his first two Minor League seasons, Giants prospect Joe Panik has played in three Spring Training games so far, all at second base.

The move isn't a permanent position switch, though, instead an attempt to make the team's No. 4 prospect according to more versatile moving forward with his fledgling professional career.

"I'm still keeping sharp at shortstop, but I'm trying to work a lot more at second," Panik said. "It's a little different but I feel like I'm helping the team out."

Panik said even though he hasn't gotten into a game yet at shortstop, his time during workouts is still being split evenly between the two positions.

"I'm still taking ground balls and working on my footwork at both spots," he said. "I think I'm handling it well. I've definitely learned a lot from watching guys around me and getting a lot of experience that way."

Drafted in the first round out of St. John's in 2011, Panik is in his second big league camp and entering Thursday's game against the Indians had made four plate appearances this spring with a walk to show for it.

"It's always good being up here with the guys. Being my second year, I'm more comfortable, too," he said. "It's really hard to say how much it helps because you hear about things, but when you see it for yourself, it's definitely something entirely different."

Batting .297 in 130 games with Class A Advanced San Jose last season, Panik will again begin his season in the Minors this year, although he isn't sure just yet if he'll get the promotion to Double-A Richmond.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.