First, a quick announcement that I’ll be hosting a chat at noon on Thursday. I’m leaving for Tampa on Friday, so why not use the day before to talk all about A.J. Burnett, the state of the Yankees designated hitter saga and all of the decisions facing the Yankees this spring? Stop by if you can.
As for things happening outside of the Yankees, the Mariners were the first team to open spring training this year. Pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Saturday, and among the first items out of Mariners camp were a photo of Jesus Montero behind the plate and an Associated Press story about Hector Noesi’s chances of making the Seattle rotation. Here’s the photo and the story, with plenty of comments from Noesi about the trade and his new team.
Noesi, who was acquired by the Mariners with catcher Jesus Montero in the trade that sent starter Michael Pineda to the Yankees, will be given the opportunity during spring training to catch on as the third or fourth starter for Seattle.
“It wasn’t hard coming here (to the Mariners). The things that have happened are already written,” Noesi said Monday, when he threw his first bullpen session of the spring. “What happened, happened and now thank God I am glad for where I am.”
Noesi made his major league debut last May in Baltimore, pitching four shutout innings and earning the win. He received the lineup card from manager Joe Girardi in commemoration of his first big-league win.
Used mainly out of the bullpen as a long reliever with the Yankees, but armed with a starter’s experience from the minor leagues, Noesi said he prefers to be a starter.
“They’re preparing me to be a starter, and I’m hoping that is the case,” he said. “It depends on what I do with my opportunity, how I work, what I show, and if it’s for me, it’s for me.”
Noesi only started two games in 2011, giving up a total of five runs on nine hits in his outings.
Still, Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased after watching Noesi throw Monday.
“We did a lot of studying on him over the course of the offseason and leading up to the trade, and we’re really happy to have him in camp,” Wedge said. “He’s a good young arm. As a starting pitcher you like the way he stays fluid in his delivery, consistent with his line to home plate and his release point. The ball comes out of his hand nice.”
To live up the rookie standard Pineda set last year as an AL All-Star is a major challenge, but Noesi is finding his comfort zone with the Mariners. And he’s solicited big-league advice from Mariners star pitcher Felix Hernandez.
“I feel comfortable because it’s a good time with my teammates,” Noesi said. “I don’t speak for the rest, but for me, he (Hernandez) is someone all Latin Americans can be proud of, with what he’s done.”
Associated Press photo