Noesi turns in flawless Cactus League debut

Noesi turns in flawless Cactus League debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If White Sox right-hander Hector Noesi pitched as well for the Mariners as he has against the Mariners over the past year, then the right-hander might still be pitching for the Mariners.

Over two starts with the White Sox in 2014 against one of his former teams, Noesi allowed one unearned run during 14 innings. Noesi picked up right where he left off in Saturday's Cactus League debut by retiring all six Seattle hitters faced at Camelback Ranch, throwing 18 strikes among his 28 pitches.

But Noesi doesn't consider it extra motivation when facing the Mariners.

"It's not motivated. I was telling some friends in the training room that I should pitch to every team like I pitch to them," said a smiling Noesi. "I'm gonna take that for this year because it's not that I have a feeling for them, but I always try to go there for them because I don't want them to say, 'Oh, that's why we put him on waivers,' you know.

"I want everybody to see that it's not. You have to learn and get better and better every time. It's not going to be that easy."

Those past struggles with the Mariners and briefly with the Rangers seem to have helped Noesi develop with the White Sox. The team's fourth or fifth starter recorded three outs by ground ball and three by fly ball Saturday, while working on getting the fastball inside to both right-handed and left-handed hitters as stressed during recent side sessions by pitching coach Don Cooper.

That relationship with Cooper has been career-changing for Noesi, who deserves credit for putting in the work to get better.

"Like I always say, he's always there working on something, no matter what," said Noesi of Cooper. "And not just with me, with everybody. It's not like, 'Oh, let me work with [Jeff] Samardzija because Samardzija is a big guy.'

"You know, he's been good. But with everybody it's the same, working hard. I give him a lot of credit."

A spot at the back of the rotation seems to be secure for Noesi, who posted a 4.43 ERA over 27 starts with the White Sox in '14. Yet, Noesi takes nothing for granted.

"I never feel secure. I always try to do my work and feel like I'm competing to be better," Noesi said. "That's mental stuff, because sometimes if you feel too comfortable, things change."

"You see a little life on his ball. He had the ball down. He added a little sink to it today," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He looked good. That's what you want in your guy coming out."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.