SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the worst weeks of Bruce Bochy's year is the final one of spring training, when the Giants manager repeatedly has to close his office door behind a player and inform him that he won't be on the roster. Bochy has gotten used to the drill over 25 years, but some moments still hit him hard.
Bochy and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi met with second baseman Joe Panik after Monday's game and informed him that he was being designated for assignment. It was an emotional meeting, Bochy said, and those feelings were still clear a day later.
"It's one of the more difficult conversations I've had in my career," Bochy said. "It's always tough when you see one of your guys go. Joe was drafted by the Giants, he's a Giant, he's done so many good things for us and helped us win a championship."
Bochy said he will always be pulling for Panik, and the Giants expect him to soon find a new home. "I think he's ready to see what's on the other side right now," Bochy said. In San Francisco, the writing was on the wall when Scooter Gennett was acquired last week. Bochy is also expected to start giving Donovan Solano more playing time.
That left Panik as the odd man out, and when the Giants needed a roster spot for Tuesday starter Conner Menez, Zaidi finally made a difficult move. He said he long has admired Panik, comparing him to Chase Utley, another second baseman who does all the little things well.
"He's a winning baseball player," Zaidi said. "It's a tough day for the organization."
Zaidi said he knew he would have to make this move at some point soon. The Giants are committed to Gennett and Solano for now, with newly-acquired Mauricio Dubon in the wings. Panik had a .627 OPS at the time the move was made.
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"We've been in a situation where we're looking to get a little more production out of the second base spot," Zaidi said. "It didn't seem fair to him to keep him in this role and it would have made it difficult for Boch to manage the roster."