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NYY@KC: Pettitte holds Royals to two runs over seven

Aaron Harang had one team he'd yet to pitch against in his Major League career -- the New York Yankees -- and that will remain true as the 12-year veteran was scratched from Thursday's start with lower back stiffness.

Hector Noesi, a former Yankee, will get the start in his place in the 4:05 p.m. PT game at Yankee Stadium.

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.

Andy Pettitte, who will oppose Noesi, looked like a candidate for the American League Cy Young Award in mid-April but lost his way in his final start of the month.

The 40-year-old lefty is back on track, however.

Pettitte is coming off a seven-inning gem against the Royals in which he pitched two-run ball, striking out seven.

Manager Joe Girardi said Pettitte's brief struggles, highlighted by a seven-run outing against the Astros on April 29, were just minor speed bumps in a long season.

"I really don't believe he's forgotten how to pitch, forgotten how to throw a cutter or locate a fastball, any of that," Girardi said. "I always say, when you're old or overweight -- and you don't want to be both -- and you're struggling, people are ready to say, 'Is there something wrong?' No, it's baseball. Everybody struggles."

The Mariners beat Pettitte last year, scoring four runs over 6 1/3 innings. Jason Bay is hitting .400 over 35 career at-bats against the left-hander.

Yankees: Teixeira's return not far
The Yankees activated Curtis Granderson for his season debut on Tuesday, and they're about two weeks away from seeing first baseman Mark Teixeira make their lineup a little bit deeper.

Teixeira has been rehabbing his injured right wrist at the Yankees' Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., and is close to taking batting practice.

"It's great -- I couldn't be happier with my rehab," Teixeira said. "I'm looking at the end of May, sometime around the 30th or 31st maybe, to get back out there playing with the Yankees. I'm feeling great."

Mariners: Injury to Felix deemed minor
Felix Hernandez, the AL's ERA leader, was feeling better on Wednesday, a day after being removed from a start after 97 pitches due to back tightness.

Hernandez hurt his back while fielding a ground ball and turning to throw to second, but he's on track to make his next scheduled start.

"He's good," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said on Wednesday. "He said it was pretty sore this morning, but he feels good, and [trainer Rick Griffin] felt he got him in a good place after the game last night. He's feeling good today, so we should be fine."

Worth noting
• Right-handed reliever Joba Chamberlain threw a scoreless inning with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated by the Yankees' staff to determine whether he'll need another rehab assignment before being activated from the 15-day disabled list.

• Mariners slugger Michael Morse picked up two more hits in his third game out of the five-hole on Wednesday and is 7-for-12 in that spot this season.

• Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, ran well in a workout on Wednesday at Safeco Field and could be ready to begin an rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma as early as Thursday or Friday.

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