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Noesi fans five, allows one run in a win

The Yankees' Michael Pineda may be sidelined for the year after shoulder surgery, but a pitcher in the Jesus Montero trade will take the mound in the Bronx on Saturday -- and he won't be wearing pinstripes.

Although most of the focus surrounding January's trade between the Yankees and Mariners centered on Pineda and Montero -- two of the most highly touted youngsters in the big leagues -- it's right-hander Hector Noesi who will get the ball on the Yankee Stadium mound before Pineda this season.

"It's not like I'm really excited to come back because now I play for Seattle and I love Seattle," Noesi said, downplaying the significance of his return. "But [I'm] kind of a little excited."

Making his second start in Yankee Stadium and his first as a visitor, Noesi will be opposed by righty Phil Hughes, who has shown improvement in his last two starts, but still has an ERA of 6.67.

It's possible Hughes is fighting for his spot in the rotation with the impending return of Andy Pettitte, but given Hughes' better performance recently, he may have already secured his spot.

"If I continue to pitch well and throw well, I'm sure I'll gain more trust," Hughes said after his last start. "That's what it's all about -- having the manager know that you can get out of those jams and know that you can still have a lot left in the tank after 100 pitches."

After a rough April in which he made it through the fifth inning just once, Hughes has done so in both of his May outings, including when he allowed three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings against Kansas City his last time out.

Noesi (2-4, 6.30 ERA) has also pitched better of late, but he has struggled with inconsistency this season. Sure, he has looked very good in his two wins, but they came against Minnesota and Oakland. He faces a much tougher offense in the Yankees on Saturday.

How will Noesi feel when he's pitching against his former teammates?

"I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see," he said. "But you have to concentrate, because it's a game and you have to do your job."

Mariners: Millwood takes Beavan's spot Sunday
• Blake Beavan's scheduled start on Sunday was pushed back to Tuesday because of a bruised elbow he sustained from a line drive off the bat of the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.

Kevin Millwood moves up a day and will pitch against the Yankees on Sunday, with Jason Vargas also moving up a day to face Boston on Monday.

"Blake's feeling pretty good, so we'll probably have him throw a light [bullpen session] on Sunday and he'll be good to go on Tuesday," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's good news, all things considered. We lucked out with that off-day."

• Dustin Ackley is batting .375 with 12 runs scored and eight batted in during the Mariners' 14 wins with him in the lineup. In the 18 losses he has played in, he is hitting .137 with five runs scored and two batted in.

Yankees: Nunez to Triple-A
• The Yankees optioned Eduardo Nunez to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where the infielder will be able to see playing time -- mostly at shortstop -- every day.

Nunez was a utility man for the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi believes his team-leading four errors were likely a result of him being uncomfortable with all the different positions he was asked to play.

"It gets him back to playing every day," Girardi said. "When I look at Nuney's future, I don't see Nuney as a utility guy. I see him as an everyday player, so we made this move."

• Robinson Cano is looking to extend his nine-game hitting streak into double digits on Saturday. He has been hot recently, hitting .444 during the streak, including a 4-for-4 night Friday.

• Derek Jeter is two hits shy of tying Tony Gwynn for 17th place on the all-time hits list at 3,141.

Worth noting
• In his first game back in the Bronx, Montero hit a solo homer and finished 1-for-4.

• In 15 plate appearances against Hughes, Ichiro Suzuki has six hits and a walk. Comments