SEATTLE -- Dustin Ackley knows his season statistics are still tough to look at. He entered Thursday's game against the Tigers with a .143 batting average. That's seven hits in 49 at-bats.
But finally it appears that some things might be turning his way. On Thursday, he singled in his first at-bat against Justin Verlander. And in Wednesday's 14-inning marathon, Ackley had his first two-hit game of the season, and one of his outs was well-struck. He went 2-for-5 and accounted for 29 percent of his season output in hits. His final hit, and the final hit of the game, was a scorched double down the right-field line.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, the relay throw on that play ended up nailing Justin Smoak at home plate to end the game. But those looking for promise could point to the fact that it was probably the hardest Ackley has hit a ball all year. Well, at least one that wasn't caught.
"That's real exciting," Ackley said. "Any time you hit the ball and it's finding outfield grass it's always a good thing. Early on, when you're not finding those hits, it kind of wears on you a little bit when you see your average fall."
Ackley has looked uncomfortable at the plate and has admitted to changing his stance. He's also hit balls well right at defenders. He said he's going to try to keep it up.
"I'm just going to take it as a positive," Ackley said. "It just shows that what I am doing is right, and I'm just going to continue to keep doing it."
Manager Eric Wedge has noticed.
"He's been edging in that direction," Wedge said. "Those are good signs for him. And hopefully it continues to build his confidence."
Noesi recalled from Minors, LaFromboise sent down
SEATTLE -- The Mariners' 14 innings of baseball on Wednesday night taxed the bullpen and necessitated a roster move. It came Thursday in the form of the team recalling right-hander Hector Noesi and optioning lefty Bobby LaFromboise back to Triple-A Tacoma.
Noesi appeared in 22 games (18 starts) for the Mariners last year, going 2-12 with a 5.82 ERA. He had come over from the Yankees in the Jan. 23, 2012, trade that sent pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos to New York for Jesus Montero.
This year, Noesi started with Double-A Jackson, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts to earn Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors. He was transferred to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday, but did not pitch for the Rainiers.
Noesi had pitched in 30 games with New York in 2011, and 28 of those appearances came in relief, so he's no stranger to the bullpen.
"I'm happy," he said. "I want to be here, and I've been trying to put everything together to be here."
Noesi said he has become more comfortable with his stuff, particularly his curveball, and that he's trusting the pitch more, which led to his success early this year in the Minors.
"Last year, I was just thinking too much," he said.
Wedge says smaller Safeco not a concern
SEATTLE -- Thursday's matinee against the Tigers marked the end of the first homestand of the 2013 season, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge was asked if he felt the new, slightly smaller dimensions of Safeco Field affected the games and the mindsets of his hitters.
As far as how the production of his offense was concerned, Wedge didn't see any difference.
"It's zero impact," Wedge said. "The way we're going to be a better offensive club is with our players and them doing what they need to do. It maybe comes into play a little bit in the summer. The air density, or whatever you want to call it, is still the same. A couple balls last night were hit pretty good and you'd think, 'Well, if they moved in the fences, they'd go,' and, well, guess what? They still didn't go."
Wedge said there isn't any psychological difference with the fences closer in some areas of the outfield.
"It's one more thing to check off the list that we don't have to worry about or hear about," Wedge said. "It's not in the back of your mind anymore. It should allow us to focus on performing and hitting, and I think it will.
"It's a fair ballpark. It still probably edges on the pitchers' side of things, just because of where we are. But that's OK, too. It's good."
• Entering Thursday, the Mariners have scored a run in 47 consecutive games dating back to Aug. 30 of last year.
• Raul Ibanez hit his 68th career home run at Safeco Field on Sunday, extending his lead as the all-time home run leader at the stadium. It also marked his 63rd homer at Safeco as a Mariner, passing Bret Boone (62) for most by a Seattle player.
• Mariners Minor Leaguer Carlos Triunfel hit for the cycle on Wednesday night in the Rainiers' 8-0 victory over Salt Lake, going 5-for-5. He became the first Rainiers player to hit for the cycle since Ibanez did it in 1997 vs. Albuquerque.