Meet your 2013 Fresno Grizzlies

The Fresno Grizzlies just announced their 2013 opening day roster. Here are the 25 names, by position, and be sure to check Monday’s paper or fresnobee.com later tonight for a more in-depth look.

The Grizzlies begin the 144-game Pacific Coast League season Thursday at Chukchansi Park against the Tacoma Rainiers. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Without further adieu, meet your 2013 Grizzlies:

Catchers: Johnny Monell, Jackson Williams

Infielders: Juan Ciriaco, Carter Jurica, Todd Linden, Juan Perez, Kensuke Tanaka

Outfielders: Gary Brown, Chris Dominguez, Cole Gillespie, Roger Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero

Pitchers: Boof Bonser, Jake Dunning, Steve Edlefsen, Heath Hembree, Chris Heston, Michael Kickham, Andrew Kown,  Mitch Lively, Jean Machi,  Yusmeiro Petit, Ramon Ramirez, Sandy Rosario, Dan Runzler

Fresno Grizzlies’ 2013 roster begins to take shape

The Fresno Grizzlies’ opening day roster won’t be finalized until Tuesday or Wednesday, media relations coordinator Chris Kutz says, but the parent-club San Francisco Giants made some roster moves Saturday that give us a clearer picture.

*** The Giants decided to go with three catchers (Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, Guillermo Quiroz), so that meant reassigning outfielder Cole Gillespie to Triple-A Fresno. Gillespie joins a crowded outfield expected to include Francisco Peguero, who was optioned earlier in the week, Gary Brown, Roger Kieschnick and Juan Perez.

(That’s five guys for three spots, which means one of those guys may end up elsewhere or someone has to switch positions. Perez was originally drafted a second baseman, so that might be an option.)

*** Nick Noonan got the nod as a utility infielder (congrats to him), but it also leaves the Grizzlies kind of short on the infield. Todd Linden could be back at first base and Ehire Adrianza is a good bet shortstop. Brock Bond would be a natural fit at second base, but he strained a ribcage muscle a couple weeks ago and may not be ready opening day. Third base? We’ll see.

*** With Quiroz in the majors, look for Jackson Williams to be behind the plate most nights. Johnny Monell and Tyler LaTorre are other possibilities.

*** Brett Pill (knee) will begin the season on the disabled list and could rehab with the Grizzlies.

*** Yusmeiro Petit, second in the Pacific Coast League in ERA last season (3.46) cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Fresno. Look for him to front a starting rotation that includes prospects Chris Heston and Michael Kickham, up from Double-A Richmond, and perhaps former prospect Boof Bonser.

*** Heath Hembree pitched lights out at the end of spring training. He’ll be at the end of a bullpen that likely includes veterans Ramon Ramirez (who accepted a Triple-A assignment) and Jean Machi, lefty Dan Runzler, sinkerballer Steve Edlefsen and others.

*** Stay tuned for more. Grizzlies manager Bob Mariano, his coaching staff and most of the players are scheduled to fly into Fresno on Monday morning from Arizona.

San Francisco Giants’ roster moves ‘bode well’ for Noonan

The Grizzlies’ Nick Noonan throws out a Omaha baserunner at first on May 12, 2012. (JOHN WALKER/THE FRESNO BEE)

Nick Noonan reestablished himself  last season with the Fresno Grizzlies. Now the 23-year-old infielder is getting another chance to break camp with the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants released veteran infielder Wilson Valdez Friday (along with reliever Ramon Ramirez) and brought back Noonan from their minor-league camp after optioning him to Triple-A Fresno on March 15. He’s in the lineup playing third base in today’s Cactus League game.

In fact, Noonan is the only healthy backup infield option left in camp. (Besides Joaquin Arias, who is assured of a roster spot.) Free-agent pickup Tony Abreu has been dealing with a leg injury all spring and the Giants reassigned Japanese import Kensuke Tanaka, who was struggling defensively, to Triple-A Fresno on Thursday.

Speaking with the team’s beat writers in Scottsdale, Ariz., Giants vice president Bobby Evans hinted that Noonan could be the favorite.

“We’ll continue to look at him,” Evans told CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly. “It does bode well for (Noonan) if Abreu can’t get healthy.”

It’s also possible the Giants could sign an infielder off the waiver wire or as other teams trim their rosters before Opening Day.

(What about Brock Bond, who was hitting .435 when he reassigned to Fresno? Bond got called up for a split-squad game  Tuesday and suffered an abdominal strain. Terrible timing.)

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Predicting the 2013 Fresno Grizzlies

Brock Bond, who boasts a .410 career on-base percentage, is predicted to return to the Fresno Grizzlies for another season.

One month from today, on April 4, the Fresno Grizzlies will trot onto the infield in their spiffy home whites for the first of 72 Pacific Coast League ballgames at Chukchansi Park.

You can practically taste the hot dogs and Tecate Light.

In what’s become an annual tradition, here are my predictions for the Grizzlies’ 25-man opening day roster. The last two years I’ve gotten about 20 names correct. It’s inevitable that someone on this list will get injured, and the San Francisco Giants typically stash a couple players in “extended spring training.” There’s also the possibility the Giants have someone in their minor-league camp ticketed for Triple-A that I don’t know about. We don’t get much news from Indian School Park during spring training.

So in other words, this ain’t no can of corn. But here goes:

Catchers (2): Jackson Williams, Guillermo Quiroz

(Both are fairly obvious choices. Tyler LaTorre will also figure in the mix.)

Infielders (6): Brett Pill, Brock Bond, Nick Noonan, Kensuke Tanaka, Ehire Adrianza, Tony Abreu

(The Giants don’t necessarily need a backup 1B with Buster Posey set to play 20-25 games there. Pill, who has a minor-league option, could be the odd man out. … Tanaka has told reporters he’d accept Triple-A assignment, so start brushing up on your Japanese. … Abreu has yet to play in the Cactus League, so Wilson Valdez is predicted to win the Giants’ backup infield job.)

Outfielders (4): Gary Brown, Francisco Peguero, Roger Kieschnick, Juan Perez

(This assumes Cole Gillespie makes the big-league roster. … Peguero is certainly giving the Giants something to think about, but they probably want him to play regularly.

Pitchers (13): Yusmeiro Petit, Chris Heston, Michael Kickham, Boof Bonser, Shane Loux, Heath Hembree, Jean Machi, Dan Otero, Mitch Lively, Scott Proctor, Steve Edlefsen, Sandy Rosario, Brett Bochy

(Jose Mijares’ injury means there are two open spots in the Giants’ bullpen. Chad Gaudin and Dan Runzler appear like the current front-runners. … Ryan Sadowski and Mason Tobin could also figure in; both were sent to minor-league camp last week to rehab injuries.)

4:50 p.m. update: I just realized Tony Abreu is on the Giants’ 40-man roster. So that probably gives him the edge over Wilson Valdez for a backup infield job.

March 6 update:  Guess I missed the news that Todd Linden re-signed with the Giants on a minor-league deal.  So there’s a very good chance the Grizzlies’ all-time leader in just about every offensive category will be back with the club.