DETROIT – For Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and the changing starting rotation, one decision is done, but the second might not be so easy.
Before Wednesday’s game, Wakamatsu announced that Ryan Rowland-Smith would be called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday and start that night’s game against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field.
The big left-hander was supposed to start Wednesday night for the Rainiers, but he was scratched from the start.
“We’ll have him throw a bullpen (session Wednesday) in Tacoma and be ready for (Friday’s) start,” Wakamatsu said.
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Erik Bedard was supposed to start Friday, but he will be pushed back for two reasons. The first is that the Mariners don’t mind giving him an extra day of rest, after he missed time with shoulder inflammation. The second reason is that it would set up Bedard to throw July 30 in Texas in the first game of a key four-game series.
It’s been an up-and-down season for Rowland-Smith. He made the rotation out of spring training, but after a tough start he was placed on the disabled list with triceps tendinitis. He made three rehab starts and figured to be headed back to the rotation, but a few shaky moments caused the Mariners to rethink and send him to Triple-A to get more work.
Rowland-Smith has won his last four starts with the Rainiers, allowing just five runs over 262/3 innings. He also had 23 strikeouts with just two walks in that time.
The decision to add a fifth starter was something Wakamatsu had planned on since the All-Star break. However, after the second straight rough outing by Garrett Olson, Wakamatsu also must find a No. 4 starter. After hinting of that Tuesday night, following a loss in which Olson pitched just 1 innings and allowed seven runs on five hits, Wakamatsu on Wednesday said Olson would not make his scheduled start Sunday. But he isn’t sure yet who will fill that spot.
It could be Chris Jakubauskas, who has been decent in long-relief stints and started three games this season. Or the Mariners could call up Jason Vargas or Brandon Morrow from Tacoma.
Gutierrez bruised but OK
A day after crashing hard into the unpadded part of the right-center field wall at Comerica Park and leaving the game, Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was moving around without considerable pain Wednesday.
Gutierrez bruised his left knee, left elbow and ribs, and also had some sore muscles in his neck from the jarring. He got to the field early and underwent a couple of treatments on his body and even rode an exercise bike.
Asked if he was sore, Gutierrez said, “a little bit, but I’m fine.”
Wakamatsu had hoped Gutierrez would play today, but doesn’t want to force it. “I don’t want to send him out there if he’s not ready to go,” he said.
Beltre getting better
Adrian Beltre continues to progress quickly following surgery on his left shoulder. He took ground balls Tuesday and will probably hit off a tee next week.
“He says he’s ready,” Wakamatsu joked.
But Beltre probably believes it. He seems to be pushing to get back as soon as possible. The groundball session Tuesday was an example.
“It was supposed to be controlled ground balls right at him and then all of the sudden you see someone hook one down the line and he snatches it,” Wakamatsu said.
“Everything is going really good with him.”
The Mariners wrap up the series in Detroit today with left-hander Jarrod Washburn (7-6, 2.87 ERA) getting the start. The Tigers will go with left-hander Luke French (1-0, 1.89 ERA). First pitch is set for 10:05 a.m. The game will be broadcast on FSN.
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