Leading Off

What’s the deal with Giants second basemen and back injuries?

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik, left, tags out Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez while trying to steal second base during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Monday, July 27, 2015.
San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik, left, tags out Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez while trying to steal second base during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Monday, July 27, 2015. AP

Indulge me for a moment while I try to impersonate Jerry Seinfeld.

What’s the deal with back injuries suffered by Giants second basemen the season after winning a World Series?

I mean, is that World Series trophy too heavy for middle infielders to tote around? Should Major League Baseball institute a designated-lifter rule?

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It’s a mystery why Giants second basemen continue to suffer back injuries: First Freddy Sanchez, then Marco Scutaro and now mighty young Joe Panik.

It’s a mystery why Giants second basemen continue to suffer back injuries: First Freddy Sanchez, then Marco Scutaro and now mighty young Joe Panik.

OK, we get Sanchez and Scutaro. Both had a long career in the bigs and likely were on the down curve of their careers.

And what a way for both to go out.

Sanchez, in his only full season with the Giants in 2010, was the first player in history to get three doubles in his first three World Series at-bats in San Francisco’s series win over the Texas Rangers.

Scutaro, who came to the Giants at the trade deadline in 2012, hit .362 in 61 regular-season games with the Giants before winning the MVP award in the National League Championship Sereis and getting the game-winning hit in the top of the 10th inning in Game 4 of San Francisco’s sweep over the Detroit Tigers.

But Panik, an All-Star without having played one full season, already is having back issues at age 24.

Panik is due to come off the disabled list on Monday, but it already has been reported that he isn’t close to returning. Instead, the team is looking to trade for used-up – at least he appears to be – Chase Utley from the Phillies.

Utley has had his own health issues, just returning to the Phillies from an ankle injury. But what may concern the Giants, or any other team interested in the 36-year-old, is his .196 batting average this season.

There’s no question Panik will reclaim his job. But would a continuous back injury keep him from being the master of his domain at second?

Victor Contreras 916-326-5527, vcontreras@sacbee.com, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

  • WHAT TO WATCH: Exhibition football, 49ers at Houston, 5 p.m., Ch. 13: Colin Kaepernick may hear a few jeers after his insensitive remarks about Houston’s killer storms last spring.
  • QUOTEABLE: “We think Panik’s making good progress, so we’re not worried that (his return is) going to be a great degree longer. But we’re taking a conservative approach, even though it’s an important time of year.” – Giants GM Bobby Evans
  • ON THIS DATE: On Aug. 15, 2012, Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games following a positive test for testosterone.
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