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.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.