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July 17, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Wakamatsu: Olson will remain in the rotation

Despite Thursday’s stinker of an outing, Garrett Olson will remain in the rotation and get another start Tuesday in Detroit, manager Don Wakamatsu said.
This is consistent with Wakamatsu’s desire to built a comfort zone where players don’t always feel like they’re pitching for their baseball lives.
“Right now, we haven’t even talked about it (changing pitchers),” Wakamatsu said. “Obviously it happened yesterday. But I think you get to a point where you have to be able to work through some things and not just vacate on him. We already have some depth, and we have a plan on the guys that are down there already.
“From our standpoint, we don’t want to create an environment or a feeling that it’s do or die. And granted, we know the trade deadline and we know the situation of everything going on right now, but still we’re trying to stick the plan that’s got us here.
“Olson’s thrown some good games for us,” Wakamatsu added. “He threw a bad game yesterday. We’ll get him back throwing a bullpen and see if he can go back out and give us another start like he did in LA. (against the Dodgers).”


Meanwhile, Ryan Rowland-Smith throws tonight for Tacoma and could strengthen his bid to rejoin the rotation.
“He’s improved just about in every outing he’s thrown down there,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s stretched out. The quality of his breaking stuff has improved, his velocity has gone up.”
With Rowland-Smith, Jason Vargas and Brandon Morrow all in Tacoma, the Mariners have the proverbial “good problem to have” scenario.
“I feel pretty fortunate we have three down there we like and are in our plans for the future,” Wakamatsu said. “You try to define what happened up here and how can we get better for the future. You look at things, whether it be with Vargas, his ability to get left-handed hitters out, or Brandon to learn to be a little more economical with his pitches and work on his secondary pitches. We feel pretty strong about having some depth down there.”

  • Russ Branyan’s back is much improved.
  • Wakamatsu merely smiled when asked about missing Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson, both All-Stars, when the Mariners play a three-game series in Detroit beginning Tuesday.
    “You look at our record, and the Central is the one we don’t have a winning record against. It’s something that’s in our minds that we go in an play good baseball because we’ve been successul against just about every other division.”
    In other words, no regrets about missing that duo.
    “No, no, those guys threw well against us at our place,” he said.

  • ; On moving past yesterday’s game: “We talked about it yesterday with certain players. Winning and losing is a byproduct of how we approach the game and the speed with which we played the game. You look at some of the errors we’ve made in the last week or so, and six of them have been at third base, where we have guys trying to fill in for a Gold Glover. When those things happen, you look at the speed of the game because a lot of those are on exchanges.
    “Our focus of the coaching staff is to say, ‘Hey,let’s slow it down a little bit and look at why those things are happening.’ So I think the temperament of the club and the feel of it is always what we’re trying to have a heart-beat on.”
    I asked if Adrian Beltre could help counsel the replacement third baseman.
    “It could work both ways,” Wakamatsu replied. “You’re staring at the Gold Glover in the dugout. No, Adrian is such a tremendous teammates, I think it’s positive that he’s here and he’s part of this.”

  • Wladimir Balentien, who has all but disappeared since Ryan Langerhans joined the team, will likely start tomorrow against right-hander Tomo Ohka.
    “But the anomaly is the fact that (Balentien) hasn’t hit lefties very well this year, and we’ve talked to him about this,” Wakamatsu said. “If he wants to play more, there are certain traits he must establish. And Langerhans is hitting higher against lefties than he is against righties. You try to juggle it anyway you can to manufacture runs.”

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