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Panik could solidify No. 2 spot in Giants' lineup

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Panik could solidify No. 2 spot in Giants' lineup play video for Panik could solidify No. 2 spot in Giants' lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Joe Panik's appearance in the batting order's No. 2 spot for Thursday's series finale against Colorado could be part of an ongoing audition, not just a product of mixing and matching.

This marked Panik's 10th start in which he batted second, so it was nothing new. He occupied that spot because Hunter Pence, San Francisco's regular No. 2 hitter, dropped to the fifth spot with Michael Morse receiving a rest. Bochy explained that he didn't want a batting order that was thick with rookies in its bottom half; catcher Andrew Susac and shortstop Matt Duffy hit seventh and eighth, respectively. Hence, the experienced Pence hit fifth for the 11th time this year and first since April 18.

As Pence's presence in the second spot for most of the season suggests, Bochy is not stuck on the notion of filling that role in traditional fashion. However, he hinted that he'd prefer somebody at No. 2 who can spray the ball to all fields, hit behind runners and execute the hit-and-run. Not only does Panik fit that profile, but Bochy also added that Panik "eventually" could settle into the No. 2 hitter's role.

"I like a two-hole hitter who can do some things," Bochy said, though he emphasized that the type of No. 2 hitter he employs in the future will depend on how that hitter can complement the rest of the lineup.

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.

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