Giants option Noonan to Triple-A Fresno for consistent playing time
PHOENIX -- The Giants essentially confirmed that right-hander Ryan Vogelsong won't be ready to rejoin the starting rotation until late July, at the earliest, by transferring him from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list Saturday.
Shelving Vogelsong for a longer period became essential when the Giants activated infielder Tony Abreu from the 60-day DL. The Vogelsong transaction cleared 40-man roster room for Abreu. To create space on the active big league roster for Abreu, the Giants optioned infielder Nick Noonan to Triple-A Fresno.
The Giants initially estimated that Vogelsong, who had his right pinkie fractured May 20 when he was hit by a pitch, would be sidelined six to eight weeks. That was soon revised to 8-10 weeks, a time frame that was confirmed by his switch to the 60-day DL.
Vogelsong said that serving the longer stint won't delay his return, noting that his 60th day on the DL will be July 19.
"I'll be close, but not ready by then," he said.
Abreu, 28, entered Spring Training as a leading candidate to claim a utility infielder's role. But he sprained his left knee early in camp and appeared in only one Cactus League game. On Saturday, he answered questions through center fielder/interpreter Angel Pagan.
"I felt really bad. I had a great opportunity," said Abreu, who hit .252 in 168 games for the Dodgers, D-backs and Royals in parts of four seasons. "I was doing everything I could. The knee wasn't able to respond the way I wanted."
The switch-hitting Abreu batted .300 (12-for-40) in two separate injury-rehabilitation assignments with Fresno.
"I've worked really hard to be in this position," said Abreu, who can play second base, short and third. "I'm just enjoying the moment right now."
Noonan made the Opening Day roster with a late-spring offensive flurry but hit .203 with three RBIs in 37 regular-season games. He hit .125 (3-for-24) as a pinch-hitter. At 24, with no Major League experience before this season, Noonan didn't fit the typical utility infielder's profile as thoroughly as Abreu. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that by returning to Triple-A, Noonan can play more frequently than he did with San Francisco and continue his development.
"You don't want to lose a year with him not playing much," Bochy said.