Noesi, who started the season with the Seattle Mariners before being designated for assignment and traded to the Texas Rangers, dominated his former teammates. He allowed just five hits over 6 2/3 innings of an eventual 1-0 White Sox victory.
Noesi has plenty of scores to settle since the Rangers eventually put him on waivers, which is where the White Sox moved in and scooped up the right-hander for their pitching staff. All of those moves happened before the calendar had flipped over to May.
With some new mechanical touchups recommended by pitching coach Don Cooper, the White Sox have been able to showcase a brand-new muscle car in a lineup that includes left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks.
With his career seemingly salvaged, at least to this point, Noesi has no problem acknowledging the best pitching coach he’s ever had.
“I’m going to say I’m sorry to the others, but I think, yes, [Cooper is] because every day with me he says, ‘You have to do this,’” Noesi said. “It’s not like you throw a bullpen and I’ll fix you in the bullpen and that’s it. He asks every day.”
Of course, there haven’t been many between-start bullpen sessions of late for a pitching coach to fix things.
Between last year and a handful of appearances this year, Noesi had made just one big league start since the start of the 2013 season, working primarily out of the bullpen instead.
The White Sox saw him as a potential starter down the road, but nobody could have predicted the quick transformation that has occurred.
Noesi tried to say after beating the Mariners that revenge was not on his mind. Maybe not, but it certainly was on everybody else’s.
Manager Robin Ventura acknowledged that it was probably a factor, and then there was the hand-written word above his locker supplied by one of his teammates that read, “Revenge.”
Noesi rolled his eyes and smirked when he saw it.
“He's a tough kid,” Ventura said. “He's confident, and he knows what he can do. Sometimes you get an opportunity and you run with it, and I think that's what he's done.
“Anytime you go through the route that he's been out on and you get a chance to show what you've got, he's going to do it. You tip your hat to him. He's been able to do that for us, and he's been a big lift for us.”
With Sale, Quintana and Danks all heading into the upcoming road trip pitching about as good as they have all season, having one more pitcher they can trust would have the White Sox feeling that much better about themselves.
Ventura no longer wants the three left-handers pitching on consecutive days in the second half of the season. Noesi could even find himself potentially pitching in potentially in the second or third game after the All-Star break, especially if the White Sox want to give Sale some extra rest, assuming he makes the American League All-Star team and pitches in the July 15 Midsummer Classic.
With Cooper at his side, Noesi believes he can be the pitcher he wants to be. He has the self-confidence anyway.
“Well, when I got here Cooper said, ‘I’m going to fix you,’ you know?” Noesi said. “So I believe everything he says, and he’s doing good with me. They gave me the opportunity to start and they said we just want you to go do what you have to do, so I try to take advantage of that spot right now.”