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May 29, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Chris Jakubauskas out as Mariners starter, Garrett Olson in

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Looks like I got this morning’s Chris Jakubauskas story in the paper just in time, because he’s been pulled from the starting rotation and will be replaced on Sunday by Garrett Olson.
“I’m not looking at this as a demotion,” Jakubauskas, seen in the photo above on the right side, said today. “I’m just going back to the bullpen to straighten myself out. It’s no secret I haven’t been very consistent.”
Yes, that’s true. But this still hurts. Jakubauskas told me the other day he had about 20 family members and friends coming to witness his start. Jakubauskas told me moments ago he’d thought they’d give him one more start to work things out. But you don’t always get those at the big-league level.
This one stings, but he accepts it. Truth is, two months ago in spring training, he’d have killed to be in this team’s bullpen. Amazing how time can change perspectives. But he’s still got some and realizes he’s still owner of a major league job.
“I at least got a chance to start,” he said. “So, you take some positives out of it.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he feels Jakubauskas stil has “a learning curve” to get through and is not as far along as more experienced major leaguers like Jason Vargas. Wakamatsu said there were times he’d have liked to see Jakubauskas execute better and also that he tended to emotionally unwind at times on the mound and let things get away from him too quickly.
Olson isn’t guaranteed to remain in the rotation beyond this one start.
“With Ollie, we want to see him,” Mariners manager Wakamatsu said of the left hander, adding that he’d discussed the situation with GM Jack Zduriencik and both were in agreement.
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By “see him” they mean at least one more time as a starter before a decision is made on Ryan Rowland-Smith. The plan is to have Rowland-Smith throw a bullpen session tomorrow, then again in Seattle and then perhaps send him out for one more rehabilitation start.
Now, if Olson gives five decent innings, it will probably be his last start for the team. If he goes out and shuts the Angels down for seven innings, then the team would have something to discuss. It’s possible that, at that point, Rowland-Smith would come back in a bullpen role while Olson was allowed to continue.
For now, though, the plan is to have him return as a starter. And that’s why Wakamatsu is leaning towards one more start in Class AAA.
Wakamatsu pointed to Rowland-Smith’s line of five shutout innings of three-hit ball on 81 pitches from last night as an example of why more time might be needed.
“There wasn’t a lot of hits,” he said. “But on the same note, we’d like him to be more efficient than that.”
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The team wants to know that Rowland-Smith can throw 100 pitches and get through at least five major league innings — not the same as AAA innings — once he returns.
So, Olson gets another shot. He’s did OK in his previous start against San Francisco as well as in an extended relief outing. After a rocky start in spring training, OIson began to puill things together in AAA and the majors.
“I feel like I started to find my rhythm when the season started,” he said. “Spring training, it was kind of hard in that situation. Trying to impress the coaches and a new front office staff. Once the season started, I started to find the little spots, the touchstones that would help me if I did get out of whack and out of rhythm.”



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