Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

March 29, 2013
Sandoval exits with discomfort; Noonan makes the club

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval left the Giants' 3-1 exhibition win over the A's on Friday night after two at-bats at designated hitter due to discomfort in his nagging right elbow.

"Just a little sore," said Sandoval, who didn't appear too concerned. "I don't want it to get worse (with) opening day coming. Just take it day-by-day."

Sandoval lined out softly in the first inning and grounded out in the fourth. Both times he batted left-handed -- the side more affected by the elbow. Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval felt the discomfort after the second at-bat and the Giants decided to pull him.

"Being cautious," Bochy said. "We'll see how he's doing tomorrow and re-evaluate him."

Sandoval hadn't played in a game since March 16 because of the elbow. He also played catch from 100 feet before the game and said throwing isn't bothering him.

"We'll see how it feels tomorrow," Sandoval said.

* The Giants announced several roster moves after the game, recalling infielder Nick Noonan to the 25-man roster and optioning outfielder Francisco Peguero and relief pitcher Jean Machi to Triple-A Fresno.

The move means Noonan will start the season as the Giants' fifth infielder. It punctuates a stark turnaround for Noonan, who was reassigned to minor-league camp in mid-March only to be brought back after the Giants released Wilson Valdez and a strained quad kept hampering Tony Abreu.

"It's all coming a little quick right now, but it feels really good," Noonan said as he was leaving the Giants' clubhouse Friday night.

Noonan started at third base against the A's and went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a triple. Bochy gave him the news right after the game. Noonan, the 32nd overall pick in the 2007 draft, appeared to be holding it together pretty well -- he said he hadn't even had a chance to tell his fiancée or parents, all of whom were at the game.

"That was great," Bochy said of breaking the news to Noonan. "The kid's done a terrific job here the last couple weeks, really picked up his play and played great baseball. ... It's fun to give good news to a player that makes the club for the first time."

Noonan said that even when he was reassigned he felt there still existed an opportunity for him with the Giants. Now there will be a locker waiting for him in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Noonan hails from San Diego, so he said his family will be able to make opening day as well.

Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt came up and congratulated Noonan as he was leaving. After giving Noonan a hug, Blanco said: "Don't cry, OK?"

Belt, memorably captured by Showtime cameras getting emotional when Bochy told him two years ago he'd made the opening day roster, responded: "It's OK to cry!"

* Peguero being reassigned leaves Cole Gillespie as the remaining candidate if the Giants choose to carry five outfielders. But Bochy said that won't necessarily be the case. The Giants could also decide to carry three catchers -- Buster Posey, Guillermo Quiroz and Hector Sanchez -- depending on if Sanchez is healthy to start the season.

Sanchez caught six innings and homered in an extended spring training game Friday and will catch again Saturday, Bochy said. After that the Giants will evaluate him and make a decision on that roster spot.

Peguero hit .328 this spring with four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. But Bochy said Peguero likely wouldn't have played enough as a fifth outfielder to warrant keeping him on the 25-man roster to start the season.

"Torres and Blanco are going to be sharing left field duties and we just don't feel that's the right fit for him right now," Bochy said. "We want him playing every day down there (in the minors) to continue his progress."

* The Giants also placed Brett Pill, Tony Abreu and Eric Surkamp on the disabled list retroactive to March 22.

* Barry Zito was exhibit A last year of how spring statistics don't always portend regular-season performance. So although Zito closed this spring in much better fashion -- allowing four runs over his final 15 1/3 innings -- he wasn't reading much into it.

"It's been good to get some results I guess," Zito said. "But I can't define myself based on that. For me it's just working day to day."

Zito allowed three hits and three walks but only one run in 5 1/3 innings against the A's. The next time he takes the mound at AT&T Park will be in the Giants' home opener next Friday against the Cardinals -- whom Zito infamously shut down in Game 5 of the NLCS last year with the Giants on the brink of elimination.

He was asked if he'll look around and savor the moment.

"I can't predict how I am," Zito said. "I would like to just stay focused on what I have to do and not get too caught up in the festivities and stuff like that."

* The Bay Bridge exhibition series shifts to Oakland tomorrow for the 1 p.m. finale, with Ryan Vogelsong and Dan Straily the scheduled starters. The Giants are off Sunday, and then it's Matt Cain vs. Clayton Kershaw at 1:10 p.m. from Los Angeles. We're close ...

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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