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May 12, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Rowland-Smith update and other pre-game notes

As reporters approached Ryan Rowland-Smith before Monday’s game to ask about his simulated game, Mike Sweeney took over as spokesman.
“I was watching, and out of 33 pitches, he threw one ball in the middle of the plate,” Sweeney said. “All the rest were on the corners. He’s been working out hard, and he had great flexibility, great extension with his elbow.”
Sweeney eventually confessed he hadn’t really seen Rowland-Smith pitch. “I was watching via satellite,” he joked.
Well, Sweeney had the number of pitches correct, and Rowland-Smith, who has been sidelined since April 11 with left triceps tendinitis, was indeed encouraged with his progress.
“My arm feels really good,” he said. “Now I just need to be patient, and let the routine play itself out.”
The routine calls for another bullpen session Thursday, after which Rowland-Smith will report to Arizona to throw in real games at extended spring training. He will also work with a new Mariners’ minor-league instructor, Rich Dorman, who was a minor-league teammate.
“He knows my mechanics, because we’d go back and forth talking about them,” he said.
If all goes well, Rowland-Smith is expected to pitch two games for Class AAA Tacoma before re-joining the Mariners at the end of the month. Asked if he expected to move right back into the rotation, Rowland-Smith replied, “Yeah, that’s what I’m expecting. Right now, I’ll let the routine play out, let my pitch count build up. I expect to be back in the rotation. If I’m not, just like last year, I’ll work my way into it.”
Mariners’ manager Don Wakamatsu, asked the same question — would Rowland-Smith go right back in the rotation — replied, “I would think so.”

  • Maybe that start by Vicente Padilla in which he gave up one hit over eight innings against the Mariners wasn’t a fluke. In his next start, he gave up one hit over seven innings against the White Sox. The Mariners are fortunate to miss both Padilla and Kevin Millwood</strong in the three-game series in Arlington that begins tonight.
  • The Mariners won’t miss Josh Hamilton, however. Last year’s American League RBI leader (130, to go along with 32 homers and a .304 average),.was activated from the disabled list just in time to face the Mariners. He has been out since April 27 with a strained intercostal muscle. Michael Young, who has missed the past two games with lower back stiffness, is also back in the lineup.
  • Mariners’ relievers Tyler Johnson and Chad Cordero, rehabbing in Arizona, both threw today. Wakamatsu said the left-handed Johnson will throw again Thursday. “We’ll see after that, but he should be close (to activation,” he said. Cordero will take a week off to be with his wife for the pending birth of their child, then return to Arizona.
  • Sweeney, who missed Sunday’s game with back spasms, is “95 percent” healed, Wakamatsu said. Bedard hasn’t shown any ill-effects from the hamstring cramp he experienced in his last start, and is on track to start Friday against the Red Sox.
  • Wakamatsu, who lives in North Richmond Hills, Texas, a Dallas suburb, spent part of the off-day fishing with his daughter, Jadyn, and youngest son, Lucas. Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard also went along. On Tuesday, a photographer was at The Ballpark to shoot Wakamatsu and his oldest son, Jacob, who was in his high school football uniform. They are being featured in an article for a magazine that covers Texas high school sports.
    Wakamatsu’s family will get to see him manage tonight in person for the first time, though he joked, “They watch me every night and critique me on TV.”

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