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Originally published Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM

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Mariners demote pitcher Hector Noesi, recall outfielder Carlos Peguero

Struggling Mariners pitcher Hector Noesi was sent to Class AAA Tacoma. The Mariners recalled outfielder Carlos Peguero, who has hit 18 home runs this season with the Rainiers.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Friday

Mariners @ A's, 7:05 p.m., ROOT

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I'm glad they've been patient with Noesi et al but it's hard to argue with this move. ... MORE
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The struggling Mariners on Thursday made the first in what could be a series of moves by sending pitcher Hector Noesi to Class AAA Tacoma.

In a bit of a surprise, the team recalled power-hitting, strikeout-prone outfielder Carlos Peguero from Tacoma to take Noesi's roster spot. Peguero will be in uniform Friday in Oakland and will see time in the outfield and at the designated-hitter spot.

"He's been doing some things down there for a while now, and certainly we have had our struggles offensively," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said of Peguero, who has 18 home runs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.002 in AAA. "So we'll get him up here, take a look and see what he can do."

It remains to be seen whether this move is for just a few days, or designed for something longer. Squeezing Peguero into a crowded outfield won't be easy with Franklin Gutierrez due to return from his concussion next week after the All-Star break; Ichiro still playing every day; and the team needing to find playing time for Michael Saunders and Casper Wells.

Playing Peguero at DH might be more likely, given his limited defensive ability compared to others already in the team's outfield. And using Peguero more regularly as a DH could mean an eventual AAA demotion for Jesus Montero, who has played the bulk of his games at that spot.

Montero has floundered at the plate, posting an OPS of just .605 the past two months, while his catching has shown signs of needing work. With the Mariners unwilling to play Montero more than two games in a row at catcher, any loss of DH games to Peguero could mean too much bench time in the majors for a key piece in the team's future.

The Mariners are also considering what to do about both Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, whose numbers are well below what was expected.

Zduriencik said there are no further moves imminent. But he added that the situation could change after the team's three games in Oakland and during the four-day All-Star break, when he will discuss matters with manager Eric Wedge.

Zduriencik said moving Noesi to AAA to work through his pitch selection and execution issues makes sense. The Mariners have enough starters and relievers to get through the weekend, and this way Noesi can continue to pitch on his regular schedule in the minors during the All-Star break.

Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to take Noesi's rotation spot, though Zduriencik cautioned that nothing will be set in stone until after the break.

Peguero did hit six home runs in a two-month stint with the Mariners last year, but was done in by a lack of plate discipline and too many strikeouts as his batting average plummeted to .196. His strikeout rate in AAA this year is nearly as high as it was last season in the minors, but his walk rate is up and the Mariners hope he can get on base more this time around.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @gbakermariners

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