Mariners dump Hector Noesi from the rotation to Triple-A

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Hector Noesi won a spot in the Mariners’ rotation during spring training after coming over from the Yankees in the Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda swap, but after going 2-11 with a 5.77 ERA in 17 starts he’s headed back to the minors.

Noesi is 25 years old and still has a future as a potential fourth or fifth starter, but there isn’t much reason for any optimism within his performance. In addition to the ugly win-loss record and ERA he served up 20 homers in 361 at-bats despite calling a pitcher-friendly ballpark home, managed just 60 strikeouts in 97 innings, and handed out 3.2 walks per nine frames.

Poor control, few missed bats, and an inability to keep the ball in the ballpark is just about the worst possible combination for a pitcher, but Noesi may benefit from some time at Triple-A given that he’s made just eight career starts there.

Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to step into the open rotation spot until the Mariners deem top prospect Danny Hultzen ready for the promotion from Triple-A.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.