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Anyone notice the San Diego Padre behind Hector Noesi in this picture?
You do? Well so did manager Eric Wedge and just about every Mariner fan who listened to the spring training opener last Friday. Needless to say, Mr. Noesi had quite the time trying to keep those Padres from circling the base paths like a merry-go-round last week, which resulted in Noesi being yanked before he got out of the first inning.
Now it may be too early to assume that Noesi pitched himself right out of the conversation for a spot in the rotation, but he certainly did not do himself any favors. Sure, Noesi may not have been the favorite going into the spring, but a solid camp could have gone a long way.
Instead, Seattle is now left deciding between a handful of pitchers to fill in the rotation behind Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders.
The competition is pretty deep, as James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Brandon Maurer, Danny Hultzen, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, Jeremy Bonderman and Jon Garland all will be given the opportunity to prove they belong.
It may still be early in spring training, but look for Beavan and Ramirez to have the early upper-hand due to their combination of experience with manager Eric Wedge and pitching at the big league level. But don't be surprised to see any of the other above mentioned make a strong case to be included in that conversation by the end of spring.
Remember, nobody expected Kevin Millwood to make the rotation last year either.