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Originally published April 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Page modified April 20, 2013 at 8:39 PM

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Noesi gains confidence with solid outing in relief

This whole long relief thing isn't what Hector Noesi hopes to have as a permanent part of his career. But for now, it's a way back to the...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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ARLINGTON, Tex. — This whole long relief thing isn't what Hector Noesi hopes to have as a permanent part of his career.

But for now, it's a way back to the big leagues for a pitcher who looked like he might never put on a Mariners uniform again after a terrible 2012 season and an equally-bad spring training as a starter. The Mariners demoted him all the way to Class AA to get him to rebuild his confidence, but were forced to promote him last week when low on bullpen options.

And after his 3-1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball helped spare the bullpen Friday night, the Mariners and Noesi are glad they did.

"It's on me," he said. "I'd love to be a starter. And I think I can be a starter the way that I am (pitching) right now. Don't think too much. Just throw your pitch the way you know how."

Noesi did just that Friday after a rough start in which he yielded a double to his first batter, then a hard-hit drive that was knocked down and turned into an out. From then on, though, the Texas Rangers made no more solid contact.

It was Noesi's first time facing live hitters in a week, and Noesi admitted it took a few batters to get back in a groove.

"I was trying to throw a strike," he said. "But I was missing the zone a little with the first hitters. After that, I relaxed myself."

Noesi hasn't relaxed all that much since being demoted to AA, a move he said caught him off-guard.

"It was a surprise for me," he said. "It was a hard moment, you know? But I have to take whatever God has for me. It's a job. If you don't take care of your business, they're going to send you down."

So, for now, he'll keep trying to replicate what he did Friday and stay up here as long as possible. He'll leave the worrying about when he's going to start again for another time.

Notes

• Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was back in the lineup Saturday as he tries to work through an 0-for-12 slump that's knocked his batting average down to .163 after a promising start.

Ryan was given most of Friday's game off, then hit into a double play that ended the game during a ninth-inning pinch-hit appearance. Ryan spent most of the spring reworking his batting stance so that he stays back on pitches more and doesn't jump out front trying to pull the ball all the time.

Lately, though, he admits he's gotten away from that.

"I've been pressing too much," he said. "It's all our natural tendency to want to dive in and go for the ball."

Franklin Gutierrez was back in the lineup after missing consecutive games with leg stiffness. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he'll try to keep him in there as long as his legs allow for it.

Gutierrez being unable to play daily, combined with recent injuries to Michael Saunders and Michael Morse — who has since returned — has put a strain on the remaining outfielders and caused some veterans to be played more than expected.

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

On Twitter @gbakermariners


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