Quiet excitement for Hector Noesi plus news and notes

Feb 23, 2012, 4:16 PM | Updated: 7:40 pm

By Shannon Drayer

I got my first look at Jesus Montero in batting practice today and yes, the bat is impressive. He sprays the ball around the field but what really catches the eye is just how quick the bat is. When he connects that ball can go a long way.

Montero has been a focus for many here at spring training and I noticed that the lead story and picture this morning on MLB.com featured Michael Pineda. Someone from that trade who hasn’t received any fanfare but is quietly opening eyes is Hector Noesi.

Jack Zduriencik insisted on getting a starter back in the trade with the Yankees since he was giving one up. While Noesi has limited major league experience and most of it is out of the pen, the hope has been that he will be a part of the rotation this year. As he has gone about his business this spring, pitching coach Carl Willis has watched carefully. What has he seen?

“A very athletic pitcher,” Willis answered. “A guy with four pitches. We are going to determine which is the better of the two, the curve and the slider. We’re not going to take one away but we want to make sure he doesn’t get in between.”

There were reports that Noesi showed increased velocity in winter ball this year. Willis hasn’t had a gun on him but said that his throwing well no doubt is connected to the fact that he is now three years removed from Tommy John surgery. He is 100 percent recovered and hasn’t had a lot of innings put on his arm since the surgery. Willis likes his delivery, likes his stuff, likes what he has seen in person and on video. He apparently is not the only one.

“More than anything else, in talking to people in other organizations who have scouted the Yankees, this guy is really well thought of and there are a lot of people who really raised their eyebrows when they found out he was included in the deal,” Willis said.

He has high expectations for Noesi, but not too high.

“We’re excited about him,” he said. “We’re not trying to replace Michael Pineda, we are just trying to find a good quality starting pitcher to help fill out that rotation and I think he can fit that bill and maybe be a little more.”

News and notes:

Lineups! Intersquad Game 1 will take place on Field 1 at 11:45 PST, (watch for updates on Twitter @shannondrayer and on 710ESPN)

Team 1

Figgins……………………………… 3B
Ackley……………………………… 2B
Wells……………………………….. LF
Smoak…………………………….. 1B
Olivo………………………………… C
Kawasaki………………………….. SS
Peguero…………………………… RF
Quiroz……………………………… DH
Saunders………………………….. CF

Team 2

Ford…………………………………. CF
Ryan……………………………….. DH
Ichiro……………………………….. RF
Carp………………………………… LF
Montero……………………………. C
Seager…………………………….. 3B
Liddi…………………………………. 1B
Rodriguez…………………………. 2B
Triunfel…………………………….. SS

Looking studious? Trayvon Robinson is not the only player sporting glasses on the field. Blake Beavan, recently diagnosed with astigmatism in both eyes, was wearing some pretty snazzy Oakley sport eyeglasses this morning. He said that the biggest problem he had without the glasses was seeing the signs the catcher put down, especially when they were wearing gray pants and the light was not good. He is going to try contacts but said he could stick with the glasses if they feel comfortable.

TV Time.The Mariners are shooting their commercials this week. Justin Smoak was the first up. “It was good,” he said of the two-hour shoot. “It was a little different. Last year I was in the background with [Ichiro] and this year it was kind of me being the guy so it was kind of weird. I was the only one there and all the cameras were on me but I think I can live with it for one day. I try to say I am a natural actor, but no.”

Et tu jeune roi? My had-to-chuckle-moment of the day came early when Felix Hernandez greeted Jesus Montero with an “El niño!”

Date Starting Pitcher
Thursday, September 29 @ 6:40 pm Mariners' Marco Gonzales vs. Rangers' Jon Gray

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Quiet excitement for Hector Noesi plus news and notes