PITTSBURGH -- Nick Noonan grew up with two sets of Padres season tickets in his family. He has friends and family members who still routinely attend games at Petco Park and have been fans for years.They'll be cheering even louder now.The Padres selected Noonan's contract on Wednesday, optioning rookie shortstop
PITTSBURGH -- Nick Noonan grew up with two sets of Padres season tickets in his family. He has friends and family members who still routinely attend games at Petco Park and have been fans for years.
They'll be cheering even louder now.
The Padres selected Noonan's contract on Wednesday, optioning rookie shortstop José Rondón to Triple-A El Paso.
"This is unbelievable," Noonan said. "My friends and family all go to Padres games. And now to be out there playing in front of them, it's going to be a unique experience, but one I'm going to cherish."
Noonan, a Poway, Calif., native and a graduate of Francis Parker High School, batted .321/.353/.445 for El Paso this season. A versatile infielder, Noonan will most likely take over as the Padres' starting shortstop, with Alexei Ramirez remaining in a bench role.
"He's going to be out there consistently," Padres manager Andy Green said of Noonan. "With everything we've done recently, [we're] looking at guys that we have the possibility of controlling in the future ... He's a former first-round pick, San Diego guy. I know it's a dream come true for him to be in a Padre uniform."
Rondon, the Padres' No. 12 prospect, has struggled in his first couple big league stints, going 3-for-25 with a pair of errors. At 22, however, he's probably destined for plenty of opportunities.
The Padres had intially planned on giving Rondon only a brief look while Yangervis Solarte was on the family-leave list. But upon Solarte's return, Alexi Amarista went down with a left hamstring strain, giving Rondon an extended big league stay.
"We're pleased with what he did and think he's going to the right spot for him right now," Green said of Rondon. "It's not really about, 'Hey, we can just keep playing him up here.' We think [Triple-A] is the best spot for him to continue to develop."
The move fills the Padres' 40-man roster, meaning another callup would cost somebody else a spot. But San Diego has several candidates to be placed on the 60-day disabled list, leaving room to maneuver.
Already, the Padres have nine players on the 25-man roster who were called up from Triple-A El Paso this season. That list now includes Noonan, a former Giants first-round pick who batted .197/.244/.244 in 76 career big league games for San Francisco.
"There's a lot of guys down there putting in a lot of hard work, day in and day out," said Noonan. "It's not easy in the El Paso heat, playing 25 games in a row without an off-day. That makes it real sweet to accomplish this goal."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.