NYM@SF: Posey hits a two-run homer to take the lead

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants catcher Buster Posey, who often receives a break in a day game following a night game, stayed in the lineup Thursday to collaborate with starter Tim Hudson. Manager Bruce Bochy explained that he wanted to maintain the Posey-Hudson battery, which has worked well so far this season.

Including Thursday, Posey has started 55 of San Francisco's 67 games -- 46 starts behind the plate and nine at first base.

Bochy indicated that with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa starting for Colorado in Friday night's series opener at AT&T Park, the Giants might stack the lineup with right-handed batters. This means that Posey could occupy first base, with Michael Morse playing left field and Hector Sanchez catching.

Bochy not Panik-ing at second, voices belief in Hicks

WSH@SF: Hicks plates Crawford with groundout in 9th

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy cast a vote of confidence for Brandon Hicks, though the second baseman has struggled offensively and was replaced in Thursday's lineup by Ehire Adrianza.

Fans have called for Triple-A Fresno second baseman Joe Panik, the organization's No. 1 selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and No. 14 prospect, to supplant Hicks full-time. Through 65 games with Fresno, Panik was batting .322 with an .823 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). Hicks, who made the Opening Day squad as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, entered Thursday batting .138 (8-for-58) in his previous 18 games.

Bochy voiced his faith in Hicks, who's tied for third on the team with eight home runs despite a .183 batting average overall. Besides providing power, Bochy pointed out, Hicks has helped strengthen San Francisco's defense up the middle.

"He's a tough kid who's going to focus on what he needs to do," Bochy said of Hicks.

That hasn't dried up another stream of speculation about the Giants' second-base situation: A possible trade for Philadelphia's Chase Utley. Those rumors are likely to intensify until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

As for Marco Scutaro, who's still sidelined with a sore lower back, Bochy said that San Francisco's incumbent second baseman will resume baseball-related activities by Friday in hopes that a recent infusion of platelet-rich blood will hasten his recovery. Scutaro has been working out when he can at the Giants' training complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Adrianza, said Bochy, earned the start in the series finale against Washington with some commendable at-bats lately despite sporadic activity.

Soccer buff Wotus welcomes World Cup kickoff

Giants bench coach Ron Wotus played soccer in high school (AP).

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, a star soccer player in high school at Bacon Academy in Colchester, Conn., has more than a casual interest in the current World Cup competition. But baseball season remains his top sporting priority.

"I just don't have the time to watch it," Wotus said Thursday. "If I had more time and I wasn't so busy, I'd make a point to watch a lot more, no doubt about it. I enjoy soccer. If you played it, you understand the game and I think you appreciate it a lot more."

Wotus observed that the World Cup is especially appreciated in San Francisco, "because you have so many ethnic backgrounds. It's fun. Everybody has their favorite team."