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May 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Ryan Rowland-Smith “ready to go” for Mariners

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Well, those clouds have yet to clear up, so it’s still an overcast day here in Anaheim. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain. Look off to the right in the distance. Who is that?
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Why, it’s Mariners’ temporary closer David Aardsma. Is that the nuclear device he’s carrying away cautiously, in an effort to save the world? Nope, he’s doing core lunges with a medecine ball.
Ryan Rowland-Smith has rejoined the team, fresh off last night’s outing in Tacoma, and he’s itching to get back in the rotation.
It won’t be his choice, though. He throws a bullpen session tomorrow and then…we’ll see. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has some things to decide, one of which is the status of Jason Vargas and Chris Jakubauskas. I’d say it’s Jakubauskas on-the-bubble right now. If he pulls another four-and-done on Sunday, then the team might be urged to put RRS back in the rotation right away.
If Jakubauskas does another nine-inning, two-hitter, then it’s a different story. Jason Vargas goes tonight and can write his own ticket with a fourth straight solid outing. But if he falters, well, the Mariners might be tempted not to go with a rotation of four lefties. They are probably looking for an excuse not to do it, so Vargas has to try not to offer one up.
But I’d say Vargas has an edge in that race right now.
If both pitch well, the team can give RRS another start just to be sure. I don’t think RRS really wants that, based on his intensity and body language when he spoke to me a few moments ago about wanting to get back in there.
“I’m ready to go, seriously,” he said. “I just want to pitch.”
He threw 81 pitches over five shutout innings against Nashville.
“It would have been fewer pitches, but they had a couple of very long at-bats, like 10 or 12 pitches each,” he said. “One was against (former Mariners minor leaguer) Michael Garciaparra, too. He had a grin on his face the whole time, whenever I’d throw another pitch.”
Wakamatsu has previously argued the logic that the four outings by Rowland-Smith so far would not have been enough to be game-ready had he done them in spring training. The theory is that Rowland-Smith has barely pitched the past two months and is essentially starting over fresh. But he disagrees.
“I’ve had spring training,” he said. “I’ve had that whole process. It’s not like that’s lost for me. None of that was lost. I feel better. Everuthing feels more in place than it did in spring training.”
The lineups:
RF Ichiro
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
1B Russell Branyan
3B Jose Lopez
C Rob Johnson
LF Endy Chavez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
LHP Jason Vargas
3B Chone Figgins
RF Bobby Abreu
DH Vladimir Guerrero
CF Torii Hunter
LF Juan Rivera
1B Kendy Morales
C Mike Napoli
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
RHP John Lackey
Yes, these are the real Angels the Mariners are facing.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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