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The best part about Friday for the Mariners is that none of it counts. The game was called because of rain in the middle of the fourth with Oakland ahead 12-1. None of the statistics are official, including the five home runs by the A’s, the brutal outing by Hector Noesi, or the two Mariner errors.
But they happened, and they will still be part of the evaluative process. Really, the only bright point for the Mariners was a home run by red-hot Casper Wells, who also homered yesterday and had driven in nine runs in his previous two games.
“He’s in here with a head full of steam trying to make this team, as are so many others, manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s made some legitimate adjustments to his game, particularly his swing, and it’s paying off for him.”
The unofficial game may still have been costly for the Mariners, as Stefen Romero, coming off a huge day on Thursday with two homers and seven RBIs, had to leave after striking out swinging in the second. Wedge said Romero hurt his left oblique.
“It looked like it grabbed him pretty good,’’ Wedge said. “We’re getting him checked out, and we’ll go from there.
Noesi, who came in with a 14.73 ERA in three previous spring outings, got rocked for seven runs in two innings, all after two outs. He gave up three home runs, walked two, hit a better and threw a wild pitch.
“Again, a lot of the same,’’ Wedge said. “He has to get over that hump. You get a couple of quick outs, some things start to happen, and it dominoes on him. It’s about going out there and finishing hitters off, and controlling damage. That’s something he’s going to have to continue to work at. That’s been his Achilles heal so far.”
Noesi had many of the same issues last year as a rookie, in which he went 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA with Seattle, and 2-6, 5.74 with Tacoma.
“I don’t think it’s so much focus as it is mindset,’’ Wedge said. “Just being to the point where, listen, we’re going to execute pitches to get this guy out to control the damage right here. That’s been his issue. He’s been around a little bit. He gained some valuable experience last year at the big league level. I think the big leagues showed him what he needs to continue to work on. And it continues to show him.
“His stuff is real. It’s about executing pitches, and having conviction with your pitches. That’s what we haven’t seen.”
Noesi pointed out, correctly, that his first-inning troubles began after a seemingly catchable two-out fly by John Jaso got caught in the wind and dropped between the fielders for a double. But he struggled after that and gave up five runs.
“I just have to work on my low pitches,’’ Noesi said. “That’s it. That’s the only problem. Sometimes it’s my mechanics, but sometimes it’s my pitches. I’m going to be consistent, soon. I’m working for this.”
Wedge said Danny Hultzen’s light bullpen session today went well, so he’ll throw a regular bullpen soon as he continues to recover from his mildly strained right hip flexor.
James Paxton was rocked Thursday in Phoenix by the A’s (2/3 ip, 3 hits, two walks, 3 runs) but Wedge said he had no physical issues.
“He just had command issues. He was out there competing and trying to figure it out. I think he was forcing it a little bit. Nothing physically.”
Because of today’s rainout, the Mariners will have a seven-inning B game Saturday morning to get work for the pitchers scheduled to work today. That’s weather permitting, of course – the forecast isn’t great.