July 2014

Giants’ interest in Zobrist could intensify

SAN FRANCISCO — With Thursday’s Trade Deadline approaching, the Giants’ interest in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays could be deepening.

The Giants’ no-risk investment in second baseman Dan Uggla has appeared to be a no-reward venture so far. Uggla has gone hitless in eight at-bats spanning three games and committed two errors, including one that generated an unearned run, in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Dodgers.

With Marco Scutaro unable to play everyday due to his lingering back issues and Joe Panik experiencing a rookie’s growing pains, the Giants again may have to look elsewhere for help at second base. Landing Zobrist would end that search. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.com reported that the Giants had two scouts watching Zobrist this past weekend.

Zobrist also could help in the outfield if Angel Pagan’s recovery from a back ailment continues to stall.

– Chris Haft

Fresno-bound Hicks clears waivers

MINNEAPOLIS — Brandon Hicks, who until recently was the Giants’ primary second baseman, cleared waivers Tuesday and was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. He’ll report to the team on Friday.

Hicks was briefly in limbo since last Friday, when he was designated for assignment to create roster room for Marco Scutaro.

Hicks, 28, batted .162 with eight home runs and 22 RBI for the Giants in 71 games, including 59 starts. He reached his zenith on May 23, when his batting average reached .200 and he hit his final homer — though nobody knew that then, of course. From May 24 on, Hicks batted .095 (7-for-74) with two RBIs.

Early in the season, Hicks was celebrated for his unexpected success. He made the Opening Night squad as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and soon beat out Joaquin Arias and Ehire Adrianza for the starting role. Hicks’ power and ability to turn the double play were his most significant assets at the time.

— Chris Haft