PHOENIX -- It was 1:30 a.m. in New Orleans when Joe Panik got the call he's been waiting for his whole life. By the time Panik had a chance to call his parents to tell them he was finally going up to the big leagues, it was 3 a.m. in New York, where they live.
"My mom gets on the speaker phone and asks, 'What's wrong?'" Panik said, smiling. "I told her this is the first good call you're getting at 3 a.m."
Panik's parents, Natalie and Paul, immediately booked a flight to Phoenix.
Their son arrived from Triple-A later Saturday afternoon, although the second baseman was not in the lineup right away. Manager Bruce Bochy told Panik to just get settled in. But Bochy said Panik will get consistent playing time, with the plan for him to start at second on Sunday.
"This is what you dream of as a kid," Panik said. "It's good to take a step back and say this is why you're here, it's time to go help this team."
The Giants have lost six straight, getting virtually no production from the bottom of the lineup or their second baseman. They had wanted Panik to get more time at Triple-A Fresno, where he was hitting .321, but in recent days he was deemed ready for the show. The Giants could use the help.
Brandon Hicks hit eight early homers but has just one hit in his last 22 at-bats and is batting .172. Joaquin Arias is hitting .183 -- all singles -- and is viewed as a better fit backing up shortstop and third base. Ehire Adrianza, who is starting Saturday, is hitting just .208. Giants second basemen have a .558 OPS this season; by comparison, opening day starter Madison Bumgarner has an OPS of .732 and Matt Cain is at .556.
Marco Scutaro, the projected everyday starter, has missed the entire season with a back injury and the organization doesn't believe Scutaro will be ready for a full-time role at any point this season. Scutaro took BP at Chase Field on Friday and said he hoped to get a few at-bats in a rookie league game next week.
To make room for a fourth second baseman on the Giants' 25-man roster, outfielder Juan Perez was optioned to Triple-A Fresno. Right-hander Jake Dunning was designated for assignment so Panik could be added to the 40-man roster.
Panik, 23, was a first-round draft pick in 2011 as a shortstop, but made the transition across the bag last season. He worked hard on his footwork in the offseason.
"I feel like I've played there my whole life," Panik said of second base. "I feel comfortable."
Panik has always looked comfortable in the big league clubhouse during spring training, and he has spent the past three springs on the major league side. His development in the minors was sometimes slow, but this season he has picked up the pace and said it's been about "taking a consistent approach."
"I didn't try to press or do too much," he said of his time with Fresno.
As Panik greeted teammates and spoke to reporters, clubhouse manager Mike Murphy filled his locker with gear, including a No. 12 jersey. The most important items are missing, though. Panik's bag got held up during a connecting flight Saturday and he was still waiting for his bats and glove to arrive in Phoenix.
"I'll have to borrow one," he said.