By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
ARLINGTON, Texas — The information made Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge chuckle a little. And he hasn’t much to make him smile in the last few days with the way his team has been playing.
It was mentioned to Wedge that Hector Noesi was a little stunned at being sent to Class AA Jackson out of spring training.
Wedge couldn’t help or hide his amusement.
It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that Noesi didn’t make the team out of spring. He did nothing whatsoever to make the Mariners consider it, 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 Class AAA Tacoma, it did raise a few eyebrows.
Were the Mariners trying to send a message with that demotion down to Class AA?
“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 Class AAA and pitch to try and resurrect his career and Danny Hultzen, Andrew Carraway and D.J. Mitchell having pitched there last season, Noesi was the odd man out.
So he was bound for Jackson. The Mariners weren’t trying to make a statement to Noesi about his focus or his 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 Class AA.
“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, pitching a total of 11 innings and didn’t allow a run. He was called up to Tacoma earlier this week, but didn’t pitch an inning. He was called up to the major leagues on Thursday after the Mariners exhausted their bullpen in a 14-inning loss to the Tigers on Wednesday.
Noesi looked solid in his first appearance with the Mariners, allowing just one hit and striking out two in 31/3 innings of work.
“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.”
For his career, Noesi is 2-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 33 career relief appearances. It may be what best suits him.
But he still wants to be a starter.
“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 as well.
“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.”