Last winter, the San Francisco Giants had some interest in Ian Desmond because of how he well he seemed to fit as a possible complement to the rest of what they had. They would've committed full-time at-bats in the outfield to Desmond -- in the end, this spot would go to Denard Span -- but they also liked the idea of the right-handed hitting Desmond spelling one of their left-handed hitting infielders, Brandon Crawford or Joe Panik or Brandon Belt, on a given day.
Well, the Giants finally got their man -- sort of, in Eduardo Nunez, who is Ian Desmond-lite. As a right-handed hitter in the midst of his best season, Nunez could serve as a safety net for the infielders, and for now, he can hold down third base in the absence of Matt Duffy. But Nunez also can play the outfield, spelling Angel Pagan or helping to fill in for Hunter Pence.
For the Giants, this was an active day of roster shuffling, writes John Shea. From his piece:
"As we looked at the rest of the season," general manager Bobby Evans said during Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Nationals, "we wanted to have the protection."
The Giants are 2-10 since the All-Star break, their lead over the second-place Dodgers dropping to two games, the tiniest it has been since May 17.
Evans vows to continue working around the clock to find a late-game reliever, still confident the Giants, who sent Adalberto Mejia (7-3, 2.81 ERA with Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento) to the Twins for Nuñez, have plenty of prospects to make it happen.
Thursday's news cycle started with the activation of second baseman Joe Panik, who came off the disabled list and went 0-for-4 as the No. 3 hitter in his first game since June 27, no longer feeling the effects of his concussion.
Hunter Pence could be back for the Giants Saturday.