SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy cast a vote of confidence for Brandon Hicks, though the second baseman has struggled offensively and was replaced in Thursday's lineup by Ehire Adrianza.
Fans have called for Triple-A Fresno second baseman Joe Panik, the organization's No. 1 selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and No. 14 prospect, to supplant Hicks full-time. Through 65 games with Fresno, Panik was batting .322 with an .823 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). Hicks, who made the Opening Day squad as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, entered Thursday batting .138 (8-for-58) in his previous 18 games.
Bochy voiced his faith in Hicks, who's tied for third on the team with eight home runs despite a .183 batting average overall. Besides providing power, Bochy pointed out, Hicks has helped strengthen San Francisco's defense up the middle.
"He's a tough kid who's going to focus on what he needs to do," Bochy said of Hicks.
That hasn't dried up another stream of speculation about the Giants' second-base situation: A possible trade for Philadelphia's Chase Utley. Those rumors are likely to intensify until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
As for Marco Scutaro, who's still sidelined with a sore lower back, Bochy said that San Francisco's incumbent second baseman will resume baseball-related activities by Friday in hopes that a recent infusion of platelet-rich blood will hasten his recovery. Scutaro has been working out when he can at the Giants' training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Adrianza, said Bochy, earned the start in the series finale against Washington with some commendable at-bats lately despite sporadic activity.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.