Panik back, will have playing time monitored

Affeldt rejoins club; Cain eyes Tuesday rehab start

Panik back, will have playing time monitored

PHOENIX -- As expected, Joe Panik was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before Monday's 6-1 loss to the D-backs in Arizona, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that the second baseman's playing time will be regulated to prevent a recurrence of his back woes.

Panik will need periodic rest, said Bochy, who began his careful handling of the All-Star by leaving him out of the Labor Day starting lineup. Panik stroked a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning and came around to score San Francisco's lone run on Buster Posey's single. Arizona's victory stalled the Giants' increasingly desperate pursuit of a postseason spot and prompted Bochy to cite Panik as a likely starter in Tuesday's game.

Posey's RBI single

Before the game, however, Bochy said, "I don't see Joe out there every day," though Panik appeared in 97 of 103 games before he was forced onto the DL.

Panik said he didn't hit any pitches during his three-game Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment as hard as he drilled Arizona reliever Daniel Hudson's changeup on Monday.

"The adrenaline [of playing in the Majors] is different," Panik said.

Panik, who missed 34 games, felt thankful to be activated. Asked how he felt physically, he said simply, "I'm ready to go."

Panik sounded aware that he must remain diligent physically -- honing his core strength and flexibility -- to forestall further back problems. "It's not going to be a chronic thing. I just have to listen to my body," Panik said, noting that he'll have a full offseason to address his physical maintenance.

Said Bochy, "He's aware of it now, which he wasn't last spring."

Panik praised Kelby Tomlinson's performance as his replacement: "He's done a good job over there. He's very impressive with the bat."

Tomlinson's first career steal

• Poised to be reinstated from the DL on Tuesday, left-hander Jeremy Affeldt rejoined the team, sporting a new brace on his left knee. Affeldt sustained a subluxation of the knee on Aug. 24 when he slipped on swimming toys while playing with his sons. Covering first base, Affeldt said, will be his biggest challenge when he resumes pitching. But he's not overly concerned, having endured right knee problems for several seasons.

"I think I'll be able to compete just fine," Affeldt said.

Additionally, Bochy said that right-hander Matt Cain is expected to leave the 15-day DL Thursday after he makes another injury-rehabilitation start Tuesday for Triple-A Sacramento, as he strives to overcome elbow nerve irritation.

• The Giants added bullpen depth by purchasing right-hander Brett Bochy's contract from Sacramento. The manager's son earned his promotion by finishing 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 43 outings. The younger Bochy also had a late-season stint with the Giants last year.

"I'm very proud of him," Bruce Bochy said. "It's still very, very special to have Brett up here. Hopefully he can help us."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.