ARLINGTON, Texas — The information made Eric Wedge chuckle a little. And he hasn’t had much to make him smile in the past few days, not the way his team has been playing.
It was mentioned to Wedge that starting pitcher Hector Noesi was a little stunned at being sent to Double-A Jackson out of spring training.
Wedge couldn’t help or hide his amusement.
It wasn’t a surprise that Noesi didn’t make the team out of spring. He did little to make the Mariners consider keeping him, posting a 17.36 earned-run average in four Cactus League appearances.
But when it was announced that Noesi was being sent to Jackson instead of Triple-A Tacoma, it did raise a few eyebrows.
Were the Mariners sending a message with that demotion to Double-A?
“It was about numbers as much as anything with the guys in Triple-A,” Wedge said. “We still wanted to give him a chance to start.”
With Jeremy Bonderman opting to go to Triple-A to try to resurrect his pitching career, and with Danny Hultzen, Andrew Carraway and D.J. Mitchell having pitched there last season, Noesi was the odd man out.
Again, the Mariners said it was a manpower move, and they weren’t trying to make a statement to Noesi about his focus or professionalism. Or were they?
“But, hey, if it sends a message or if he gets something out of it more so, then that’s great, too,” Wedge said.
Noesi wasn’t expecting to be sent down to Double-A.
“It was a surprise for me,” Noesi said. “It was a hard moment. But I have to take whatever God has for me.”
Noesi learned the hard way that no matter how much talent you have, poor performance will ultimately cost you.
“It’s a job,” he said. “If you don’t take care of your business, they are going to send you down. I went down there with my mind clear. I said I have to do better.”
He made two starts, pitched 11 innings and didn’t allow a run. He was called up to Tacoma last week but didn’t get in a game. He was called up to the parent club Thursday after the Mariners exhausted their bullpen in a 14-inning loss to the Tigers the night before.
Noesi looked solid in his first appearance with the Mariners, allowing just one hit and striking out two in 3 innings.
“I hadn’t pitched in seven days,” Noesi said. “I was missing the zone a lot with that first hitter. After that, I relaxed myself and just threw.”
As a reliever, Noesi is 2-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 33 career appearances. It might be what best suits him.
But he still wants to start.
“He has all the ability to be a starting pitcher,” Wedge said. “But he has to a dig deep and find a way to make it happen.”
Noesi understands that.
“It’s on me,” he said. “I’d love to be a starter. And I can be a starter, with the way I am pitching now. Don’t think too much and throw the pitch where they want me to throw it.”
The Mariners close out the three-game series in Texas with a 12:05 p.m. game today. Right-hander Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.40 ERA), making his second start since joining the Mariners, will oppose Rangers right-hander Justin Grimm (0-0, 4.50). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish