CHICAGO -- Nick Noonan returned to the bench Friday, one day after going 3-for-5 and scoring twice in his first Major League start to help the Giants defeat the Cubs, 7-6.
"That's the life of a utility player," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, jokingly adding that Noonan didn't hit proficiently enough to stay in the lineup: "He didn't get the memo that you have to hit a home run."
Noonan did, however, become the first Giant to amass three or more hits in his first big league start since first baseman Travis Ishikawa went 3-for-4 on May 26, 2006, against Colorado, according to STATS, Inc.
Noonan admitted feeling somewhat nervous as Thursday's game began.
"But everyone that I talked to said, 'Stay the same, do the same thing you were doing last year and in Spring Training and everything will work out,'" Noonan said.
Bochy acknowledged that he likes how Noonan is handling the backup role after starting through most of his six-year Minor League career. Noonan must remain diligent, since as an infield reserve, he must prepare himself to play not just second base, where he played Thursday, but also shortstop and third base. Backups also must take extra batting practice to keep their swing sharp.
As Bochy pointed out, Noonan has to work harder than a regular.
"For a utility player to be good at it, he has to embrace it, accept it and look forward to the challenge," Bochy said.
Bochy weighs in on Dodgers-Padres fracas
CHICAGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy understood how tempers could overflow as they did Thursday night in San Diego, where the Padres and Dodgers engaged in a fracas that left Los Angeles right-hander Zack Greinke with a fractured collarbone.
"It's unfortunate to see anybody get hurt in these brawls," Bochy said Friday.
But Bochy also said, "Boys will be boys," and proceeded to point out that, however regrettable it might be, on-field confrontations often are unavoidable.
"It's competitive out there," Bochy said. "You're in the heat of the moment. You can talk all you want, but there are going to be games where tempers are going to flare. It happens in every sport."
The Giants have rarely squabbled with opponents since Bochy took over in 2007. Benches emptied during a Giants-Dodgers game in 2008, but discord didn't escalate. Barry Zito plunked Prince Fielder with a pitch in a 2010 Spring Training game in retaliation for Fielder staging an elaborate walk-off home run celebration the previous season.
The National League Championship Series has been the stage for two issues: Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley had words during the 2010 NLCS, leading to a benches-clearing incident. And Matt Cain hit St. Louis' Matt Holliday in last year's Game 7 after the takeout slide Holliday leveled at Marco Scutaro in Game 2.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.