NEW YORK -- In his 12th year in the Major Leagues, the Yankees were the one team Aaron Harang had yet to pitch against in his career -- and that will remain true after the veteran right-hander was scratched from Thursday's start for the Mariners with lower back stiffness.
Hector Noesi, the former Yankee, got the start in his place.
Noesi, 26, has pitched pretty well in relief for the Mariners, but has a history of trouble as a starter since being acquired in the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade in 2012.
Noesi was 2-12 with a 6.24 ERA in 18 starts last season. He's put up a 3.86 ERA in four relief appearances this year since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on April 18.
The Harang news comes at a tough time for the 35-year-old right-hander since he'd just started to get into a groove after being acquired by trade on April 12. Harang is 1-4 with a 7.30 ERA, but had put up back-to-back quality starts against the Orioles and Pirates and felt he had straightened out some mechanical issues that were plaguing him earlier.
Harang said his back began tightening up Wednesday night during the Mariners' 12-2 win, so he took some muscle relaxers and hoped things would be fine by Thursday. Instead, he woke up with more stiffness and eventually was scratched about four hours before the game.
"It's something I'm not worried about," he said. "It just tightened up. We'll have a few extra days in Cleveland to let the muscles chill out a little, and then I should be good to go by Tuesday."
Harang said he's had similar problems a few times in his career, the last coming in 2010, when he was also in New York to face the Mets while with the Reds. He missed nearly two months that season, but said he doesn't think this issue will be similar.
"We couldn't even find a chiropractor in the city because everybody had taken off for the long weekend," he said. "I think we tried to do too much with it then. Instead of letting it rest, we were cranking on it, and it lingered longer than it should have. But having been through this before, I'll do some acupuncture, let the muscles relax the next couple days and I should be good to go."
The 6-foot-7, 261-pounder said long flights cramped in a plane don't help, and the Mariners have had several extensive trips recently. But he says he now has regular chiropractor visits, and things he's learned to do to ease the pressure on his back have helped, so he's confident the problem won't linger.
Noesi hasn't pitched in 11 days, when he gave up three runs on six hits in two innings at Toronto. Prior to that he'd thrown 7 1/3 innings with just four hits and one run in three outings.
"When he's aggressive on the plate with all his pitches, it plays for him," manager Eric Wedge said. "When he picks a little or tries to guide the ball, that's when he gets in trouble, because he falls behind and has to come in and it doesn't matter what you're throwing. But when he gets out there and really gets after it, that's when he's effective."