The San Francisco Giants have been pretty consistent in the infield this year, keeping the group of Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval in the starting lineup for the large majority of the season. Even though this group looks to return as the starting infield for 2014, the Giants have major questions about their bench for next season, so they likely will be trying out plenty of players during September. They should activate Tony Abreu from the DL and recall Ehire Adrianza and Nick Noonan once rosters expand.
At this point, it’s still somewhat of a question mark if Abreu will be available in September. He’s dealt with a nagging knee injury since the early days of spring training, and he has been limited to just 34 games this year. He experienced success in that period, though, hitting .266 with nine extra-base hits over 79 at-bats. He tried to start a rehab assignment with the AAA Fresno Grizzlies earlier this month, but had a setback, and is now working out with the major-league team in hopes of a return. If he can come back, it would be a nice opportunity for him to angle for a bench spot next year. Ultimately, however, his biggest issue will be staying healthy over a full season.
Several months ago, it seemed extremely unlikely that Adrianza would ever make his way to the majors with the Giants, but he has played well since his promotion to Triple-A in July. Considering that he is out of options and the Giants must have him in the majors or expose him to waivers next season, it makes sense for them to see what he’s got over the final month of the season. The 24-year-old shortstop has long been considered a premium prospect due to his fielding ability, though he’s never really been able to put it together offensively. His .311 average and .418 OBP since arriving in Triple-A, however, signify that maybe he can hit well enough in the majors to fill a defensive specialist role.
Noonan has been shuttled between Triple-A and the majors all season. He generally has been limited to pinch-hitting opportunities, but he showed some potential in June while filling in for Pablo Sandoval. Seeing as he was with the big-league team for a brief period last week, it only makes sense that he would return in a few days.