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The Noonan Question

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Please let the season start please oh please oh please. We're mired in the dog days of spring. The most excitement we've had in weeks, other than watching Angel Pagan run around in a funny uniform, has come with glaringly obvious roster cuts.

We all did a little fist-pump dance at today's news of Wilson Valdez getting the axe. He has the skills of Manny Burriss, and he's seven years older! Will the Giants sign another backup infielder? Will they wait for Tony Abreu, who's got a maling- ... oops, I mean lingering leg muscle injury, to heal and win the job? Will Nick Noonan, already on the 40-man roster, get a shot? If Pablo Sandoval is indeed good to go on Opening Day, with Joaquin Arias re-ensconsed as the primary utility infielder, the answer to all these questions is "Who cares?" The secondary utility infielder has as much influence as the Vice President of the United States, staying ready in case someone gets hurt or there's an intractable stalemate.

Sure, Ryan Theriot scored the winning run of the 2012 World Series, but was it due to some ineffable Theriotness that the situation otherwise would have lacked? Another backup infielder had just as much chance to make weak contact and flip a ball into the outfield that night, be bunted over by Brandon Crawford, and be waved home by Tim Flannery on Marco Scutaro's single. Well, OK, perhaps sabermetrically speaking Nick Noonan, based on his mediocre minor-league batting record, would have had 32% less chance to make contact that night, or something like that. Perhaps Noonan is practically guaranteed never to hit a major-league home run -- aka Theriotness -- while Abreu could at least run into one every two months. Who cares? It's all replacement-level dithering from here on out. I'm quickly warming to the idea of giving Noonan a few weeks in the bigs to see how he responds. [UPDATE: Noonan hit a home run in Friday afternoon's game against the Rockies. It was spring training, and the pitcher was Miguel Batista.]

The other option is to go with the best right-handed hitter in that spot, infield backup glove be damned. Which might mean Cole Gillespie and Frankie Pegs both make the roster, at least until Brett Pill recovers from surgery.

See what I mean? Excitement!

I need to divert myself with pleasant thoughts of...

- Heckling Carl Crawford, Dodgers' left fielder. If he plays, that is.

- Another year without Scott Hairston in the NL West.

- Brandon Belt hitting his 10th home run of the year.

- Delmon Young playing the outfield at Mays Field, if he can get healthy by the time the Phillies visit in May. If he's out there, it would be slapstick to rival Adam Dunn's handiwork when he roamed our bayside greensward for the Diamondbacks.

- And best of all, the return of Brian Wilson. I predict he'll be back on the Giants' 25-man roster by July 15.


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