Noonan wins spot on Giants roster

Noonan wins spot on Giants roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nick Noonan received some advice from Gregor Blanco as they left the Giants clubhouse Friday night. "Don't cry, OK?" Blanco said.

Noonan wasn't crying. Nor was he exulting, at least not outwardly. He maintained the cool demeanor that he has displayed throughout Spring Training, which helped him reach his goal: making the Giants' 25-man Opening Day roster.

That became official after San Francisco's 3-1 victory over the Oakland A's, when the Giants announced that Noonan had been recalled from Triple-A Fresno. He'll fill the second utility-infield role, filling in at second base, shortstop and third base.

Noonan clinched the job by accounting for two of San Francisco's runs, lining an opposite-field RBI single to left in the fifth inning before yanking a triple to right-center field and scoring in the eighth.

"I just played with a big smile on my face, actually, from the moment I took the field until the last out," Noonan said.

And that was before he received the good news from manager Bruce Bochy, who called Noonan into his office after the game.

Noonan, 23, finally achieved his Major League dream after spending six years in the Giants' Minor League system. But the rookie spoke calmly to reporters, saving his celebrating for a reunion with loved ones who happened to be at the game -- his parents, Bill and Athena, and his fiancee, Amanda.

Being optioned to Fresno on March 15 didn't faze Noonan. In an unusual but not unprecedented move, he resumed playing regularly in Cactus League games on March 22, after infielder Wilson Valdez was released and one day after the Giants reassigned Kensuke Tanaka, another contender for the utility role, to Minor League camp.

"I just felt like there was an opportunity for me here," Noonan said. "Looking at everyone around me, I never counted myself out. I stuck to that plan, and here we are today."

Others weren't as fortunate as Noonan, who lifted his spring average to .273.

Outfielder Francisco Peguero and right-hander Jean Machi (3.60 ERA, two saves in 10 games) were optioned to Fresno. Statistically, Peguero outperformed Cole Gillespie, his rival for the fifth outfielder's spot. Peguero hit .328 in 25 games, compared to Gillespie's .278 in 26 games. But the Giants want Peguero, a 24-year-old homegrown product, to play every day and hone his skills. Gillespie, 28, more closely fits a backup outfielder's profile.

Gillespie didn't clinch a spot on the 25-man roster, however. Bochy acknowledged that keeping three catchers -- both Hector Sanchez and Guillermo Quiroz backing up Buster Posey -- is a possibility. That would leave room for only four outfielders. First baseman Brandon Belt can provide help in left field, if necessary.

The Giants also must monitor Sanchez's health for at least another day as he plays Minor League games while recovering from right shoulder inflammation. If Sanchez were to begin the season on the disabled list, Quiroz would be the No. 2 catcher.

In anticipated moves, the Giants placed first baseman Brett Pill (right knee), left-hander Eric Surkamp (elbow) and infielder Tony Abreu (left knee) on the disabled list retroactive to March 22.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.