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May 21, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Back to the future for Mariners pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith

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Geoff Baker Live! comes up at 6 p.m. Be sure to watch it, or we’ll give Tboneman your email address.
A look at Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, photo above, who actually used a slide-step before throwing this pitch. Stopwatch time: 1.3 seconds. Distance? Somewhat less than 62 feet.
On to more serious matters, pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith threw about 45 pitches in a bullpen session today and pronounced himself ready to start in Tacoma. Rowland-Smith remains a popular guy with legions of Tacoma fans after a memorable mid-summer stint there last year as he was preparing to become a starter.
And his recent rehabilitation assignment to extended spring training in Arizona brought back plenty of memories for the Australian pitcher.
“I stayed at the Hampton Inn, which is exactly where I started out when I came here when I was 18,” he said. “It was different being back there in extended spring with all the other guys trying to make it. Everybody works so hard down there. They’re all up running at 6:45 a.m. and I was out there running with them.”
One of the instructors who worked with Rowland-Smith was Rich Dorman, a former Mariners prospect who retired because of arm issues. Rowland-Smith and Dorman were teammates in the minors from 2002-2004 and again in 2006.
Back when both were playing Class A ball for Wisconsin, they stayed at the same house where their sponsor was an older woman.
“She had us doing all kinds of chores for her,” Rowland-Smith said, bursting out laughing at the memory. “One day, one of us would be walking the dog, while the other would be mowing her lawn, then she’d switch it up and we’d be doing something else.”
Dorman is only a few years older than Rowland-Smith and knows his pitching style pretty well. That came in handy when it came to working on some things this time around.
“We were just getting back to the little things,” Rowland-Smith said. “My body was sort of separating a bit when I pitched — my front side jumps out. That kind of thing used to happen before, so he knew about it and we worked on it.”
Rowland-Smith has at least two rehab starts scheduled with Tacoma for now, He could be back with the Mariners by early June.
Wakamatsu said injured pitcher Roy Corcoran will accompany the team to California on a road trip next week, then likely head out on a minor league rehab assignment of his own shortly after arriving there. The length of the stint will depend on how well Corcoran pitches. Wakamatsu wants him not only to build his arm up, but also to feel comfortable getting major league hitters out. With the bullpen doing so well at the moment, it could be a longer stint.
Rob Johnson is available to catch in an emergency, but the team wants to give him another day or two if possible.

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