RENO — If there’s one thing Joe Panik has learned during his rehab assignment, it’s you don’t mess around with head injuries.
Panik was hit by a pitch on June 18 by Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore. He continued to play for more than a week before going on the disabled list. During that time he went 7-for-33.
News reports said Panik started suffering concussion-like symptoms on June 28.
Not so said Panik, who’s playing for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats until he rejoins the San Francisco Giants. He has missed more than 20 games.
“I had symptoms (right away),” Panik said. “I just didn’t say anything to the trainers right away. “Half the thing with the (concussion) protocol is being up front.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I’m going to play seven tonight (Wednesday) and nine tomorrow (Thursday), and we’ll see where it goes from there. I’m seeing the ball real well.”
Panik has had a start and stop rehab assignment. He played a couple of games, but didn’t feel right. He said it wasn’t concussion symptoms, he just didn’t feel good.
“It’s not like a shoulder injury which you can play through,” he said. “If you aren’t completely right, you shouldn’t be out there. You don’t want to play around with head injuries. As long as I’m seeing the ball pretty well …”
Panik and teammate Hunter Pence are currently with the River Cats. Pence has refused all interview requests. Both got a warm reception on Tuesday night prior to Sacramento’s 12-4 win.
“The cheers makes you feel good,” Panik said prior to Wednesday’s game at Greater Nevada Field. “I know the Giants have a lot of fans throughout Northern California and up here. It’s known as Giants territory. I knew there would be some sort of fanfare.”
Panik is looking forward to rejoining his teammates as soon as possible. The Giants have lost 8 of 10, including a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is what we do,” he said.
“I want to be there with the guys. I just want to help get (the team) back on the right track.”
The Giants definitely need some help offensively, something both Panik and Pence could provide. Through 70 games, Panik was hitting .256 with seven homers and 36 RBI.