Results tagged ‘ Nick Noonan ’

Giants 7, Cubs 6: We’ve got the perfect nickname for San Francisco Giants rookie Nick Noonan

San Francisco Giants' Nick Noonan, center, shakes hands with Giants third base coach Tim Flannery (1) after hitting a triple during the eighth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Friday, March 29, 2013, in San Francisco. Athletics' Josh Donaldson is at right. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

San Francisco Giants’ Nick Noonan, center, shakes hands with Giants third base coach Tim Flannery (1) after hitting a triple during the eighth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Friday, March 29, 2013, in San Francisco. Athletics’ Josh Donaldson is at right. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

The San Francisco Giants have a menagerie of animal nicknames for their players.

Kung Fu Panda

Baby Giraffe

White Shark

Crazy Horse

They all make for good sellers at the Giants Dugout store.

And now that other items like the Timmy wigs (he cut his hair) and Wilson beards (off the team) are now in the clearance bins, maybe it’s time for another fuzzy nickname.

And rookie infielder Nick Noonan appears to be the perfect candidate.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when Noonan comes to the plate is to yell “Noonan! Noonan!” in reference to the Danny Noonan character from “Caddyshack.”

Well, that’s not a good nickname. You don’t want Giants fans yelling “NNNNNNoonan!” whenever he comes to the plate. But if you want a cute and fuzzy nickname, you just need to take the Caddyshack reference a step further.

gopher

Noonan = Caddyshack = Gopher!

Somebody cue Kenny Loggins!

Noonan has certainly earned it. He went 3 for 5 with two runs in Thursday’s game against the Cubs, raising his season average to .455 (5 for 11) and helping the Giants rally from an early 5-0 deficit.

And think about, the nickname worked on Thursday. Bill Murray is a big Cubs fan. Murray starred in Caddyshack as the groundskeeper who was tormented by …. The Gopher! The Gopher tormented the Cubs on Thursday.

Last season, the rookie call-ups from Fresno didn’t fare so well. Charlie Culberson, Conor Gillaspie and Francisco Peguero struggled to hit their own weight.

But Noonan is holding his own after he became the Giants’ fallback option for a reserve infielder. He may even allow the Giants to forget about Tony Abreu, who still hasn’t begun his rehab assignment from quad troubles that sidelined him during spring training.

Noonan can play second base (where he got his first big league start Thursday in place of the resting Marco Scutaro), shortstop and third base.

So let’s hear it for Noonan, a.k.a The Gopher. Let’s get some legs on this nickname. Spread the word.

I expect to see gopher hats in the Giants Dugout stores by the end of the month.

goferhat

Interesting: San Francisco Giants release Wilson Valdez

San Francisco Giants second baseman Nick Noonan throwes out a runner in an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

San Francisco Giants second baseman Nick Noonan throwes out a runner in an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Well, that was one option we had not considered.

The battle — if you want to call it that — for the final reserve infielder spot for the San Francisco Giants took an interesting turn on Friday morning.

The Giants released veteran infielder Wilson Valdez, who was previously thought to have the inside track of landing the job, if only by default. But Valdez hit only .194 this spring with spotty defense.

“It’s just respect for a veteran player who wasn’t going to make our club,” Giants VP Bobby Evans Evans said. “Let him go out and find another opportunity.”

The news was surprising because the Giants reassigned Kensuke Tanaka, the only other healthy candidate for the job, to Fresno on Thursday. Tony Abreu remains hurt and only has had two spring ABs, although Evans said Abreu is close to returning and wouldn’t need as much time to get ready for the season, as a reserve infielder.

But with Friday’s move, it opens the door again for Nick Noonan, who was optioned to Triple-A on March 15. Noonan was hitting .186 in 18 games before being sent down. However, he only struck out once in 43 at-bats and played the best defense of any of the middle infield candidates. Noonan played shortstop, third base and second base last season for Fresno.

Noonan, 23, was a first-round sandwich pick (32nd overall) in 2007 draft out of Parker High in San Diego. He was a Baseball America Rookie All-Star in 2007 after hitting .316 in 52 games for the Giants’ Arizona Rookie League team.

Then his career headed on a downward track. He hit .279 for low-Class A Augusta in 2008, .259 for high-Class A San Jose in 2009, .237 for Double-A Richmond in 2010 and .229 between San Jose, Richmond and Triple-A Fresno in 2011.

But he had his best season as a pro for Fresno last season, hitting .296 with a .347 OBP, nine home runs and 62 RBI, earning him a spot on the 40-man roster.

The Giants must have liked what the saw in Noonan after going to minor-league camp to make this move and give him a shot of being on the roster on April 1. Evans also said the Giants would consider options via a trade or waiver wire. But for now, Noonan moves to the forefront.

“We’ll continue to get a look at him,” Evans said of Noonan. “It does bode well for him if Abreu can’t get healthy.”

Friday’s move also bodes well for Cole Gillespie. With Noonan and Abreu both on the 40-man roster, the Giants now don’t have to create a spot for Gillespie if they decide to give him the reserve outfielder job over Francisco Peguero.

The Giants have two open spots on their 40-man roster and can create a third by placing pitcher Eric Surkamp on the 60-day DL. Now those three spots could potentially go to reliever Chad Gauin, catcher Guillermo Quiroz and Gillespie.

Also Friday, the Giants released reliever Ramon Ramirez in a less-surprising move.

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