When the San Francisco Giants announced Brandon Hicks made the team as a non-roster player out of Spring Training, many Giants fans undoubtedly had the same question: who is Brandon Hicks and how did he get on this squad?
Hicks wasn’t hearing those questions soon after a back injury sidelined Marco Scutaro, but Scutaro’s rehab from a bad back could spell trouble for Hicks’ future in San Francisco.
Hicks homered Friday off of Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson, which brought his long-ball total for the year to seven. Therein lies the problem for the Giants, but it may not be such a bad problem. Hicks has a .195 batting average, but those seven home runs will make it hard for the Giants to bench Hicks when Scutaro inevitably returns to the lineup.
For starters, Hicks has power the Giants can’t afford to drop from the lineup at the moment. Mike Morse has 10 home runs. Brandon Belt had nine homers before he landed on the disabled list. Hicks and Buster Posey each have seven homers. Power-loaded bats are one reason the Giants have hung out toward the top of the NL West all season.
After the debacle that was 2013, Giants fans are happy to be back in a familiar location. If Hicks can keep them there, then the Giants will be in a better spot as time goes on.
Pablo Sandoval has a .225 average and is somewhat of a disappointment this year, yet he still has a regular starting gig.
Scutaro has undergone treatments on his back after seven weeks of rehab in Arizona. He would like to tell everyone a return date is near, but the reality is we may not see Scutaro back in a Giants uniform any time soon. Even if Scutaro does return, it may be in a platoon role. This may give Hicks more at-bats and a chance to get his power into the lineup. If San Francisco is to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead, it will need all the help possible. That is why the Giants are holding onto Hicks even as the Scutaro clock ticks.
Time may be winding down for Hicks, but with each display of the bat, he stops the clock.