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INF Nick Noonan likely will get significant playing time at second base in September when the Giants are expected to significantly limit 2B Marco Scutaro's activity. Noonan got two at-bats as a late-inning replacement for Scutaro in a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night and didn't take advantage, going 0-for-2. Friday he got the bad news: The Giants need immediate help in the bullpen more than a .209-hitting backup infielder, so Noonan was sent back to Triple-A Fresno. He's expected to be recalled Sept. 1 when rosters expand.
LHP Mike Kickham has never enjoyed a yo-yo more. He was sent to Triple-A Fresno on Thursday after having pitched four innings the night before against the Boston Red Sox. The thinking: He'd exhausted himself for 2-3 days, so why keep him on the active roster? Unfortunately for the Giants, another long reliever (RHP Guillermo Moscoso) was needed for a long stint Thursday night, so now the team is short of arms in the bullpen again. Solution: Recall Kickham from the minors. The left-hander is a candidate to replace injured RHP Matt Cain in the starting rotation next week should RHP Yusmeiro Petit, also called up from Fresno on Friday, be needed in relief this weekend.
OF Jeff Francoeur cleared waivers Friday after having been designed for assignment earlier in the week, making him a free agent. Despite the fact he hit just .194 in 22 games for the Giants after having been signed as an in-season free agent, Francoeur left San Francisco having received this message from Giants manager Bruce Bochy: Don't lose our telephone number in the offseason. That's how unsettled the Giants' situation is in left field.
RHP Matt Cain had hoped to go through his entire career without going on the disabled list. And maybe that streak would have continued had the Giants been in contention this season. But with nothing more than meaningless games left on the schedule, Cain was placed on the DL on Friday, one day after he had to leave his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates after getting nailed on the right forearm with a shot off the bat of Pittsburgh Pirates INF Gaby Sanchez. Cain had made 261 consecutive starts to start his career without a DL stint, the sixth-longest among active pitchers. X-rays were negative and the injury is not considered serious, but it's nonetheless possible he will be shut down for the rest of the season.
RHP Yusmeiro Petit was promoted from Fresno on Friday to replace injured RHP Matt Cain on the active roster. The 28-year-old has been tentatively listed as the Giants' starter in Cain's spot Tuesday at Colorado, although it's possible he'll be used out of the bullpen before then. Petit has made just one previous major-league appearance, and it was a good one. He held the Cincinnati Reds to two runs in 5 1/3 innings of relief earlier this season, striking out seven. His numbers as a starter at Triple-A Fresno (5-6 record with a 4.52 ERA) are not overly impressive.
CF Angel Pagan moved from the rookie-level Arizona League to Triple-A Fresno on Friday even though his numbers didn't necessarily warrant it. Pagan went just 2-for-11 in Arizona. But most important, his surgically repaired left hamstring passed all the base-running tests as Pagan had a triple among his two hits and scored three times. Despite being woefully out of contention, the Giants anxiously await Pagan's return to center field and the leadoff spot. If all goes well in Fresno, that likely will occur when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
RHP Tim Lincecum still has some convincing to do in his effort to get a new contract from the San Francisco Giants next season. In his second consecutive disappointing season, Lincecum won back many fans with his no-hitter at San Diego on July 13. But he's reverted back to the pitcher his numbers (6-13 record, 4.53 ERA) would indicate since then, especially in his last two starts, when he's allowed 11 runs on 16 hits in 11 innings. He's never had much success against Saturday's opponent, the Pittsburgh Pirates, against whom he's compiled a 1-3 career record and 4.38 ERA in six starts.