Mariners relief pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith has a long wait ahead of him before he can fully celebrate his most surprising of seasons. Rowland-Smith is one of...
OAKLAND, Calif. — Mariners relief pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith has a long wait ahead of him before he can fully celebrate his most surprising of seasons.
Rowland-Smith is one of several Mariners who’ll be off to play winter ball in Venezuela next month. The Mariners are planning to look at the 24-year-old for next year’s starting rotation and want him to get some innings in once the regular season ends.
“I’d like to get four or five starts down there, go back to Australia and try to get in shape for next season,” Rowland-Smith said before Monday night’s game. “I don’t know what’s going to happen after that, but they told me they want me down there, starting.”
The native of Australia had set some modest goals before the season, when the Mariners added him to their 40-man roster last November. He’d hoped to at least be a September call-up but never expected to be up with the Mariners by midseason and sticking with them the rest of the year.
Most Read Sports Stories
- 'A 10 isn't enough': Bellevue native, UCLA gymnast breaks the internet with flawless floor routine WATCH
- Russell Wilson contract extension may sting for Seahawks, but not as much as alternative | Larry Stone
- Outdoor NHL game in Seattle? As good a chance as the new team being named 'Kraken' | Inside the NHL
- Seahawks sign free agent defensive tackle Jamie Meder, a former Cleveland Brown
- Mel Stottlemyre Sr., Yakima Valley native and former Yankees star, dies at 77 WATCH
He’s 1-0 with a 4.05 earned-run average in 21 outings of middle and long relief thus far. And his 38 strikeouts in 33-1/3 innings have opened some eyes.
“I just wanted to get up here and show I could throw strikes at this level,” he said. “Now that I’ve been here for a while, I’ve got so much more confidence.”
Rowland-Smith was almost certain he was about to be sent back down to Class AAA in early July when Chris Reitsma was activated off the disabled list. When the team kept him — designating Jason Davis for assignment instead — Rowland-Smith took it as a vote of confidence.
He credits closer J.J. Putz for helping keep him honest.
“That day, he came to me and told me, ‘Don’t get comfortable, just keep working at it,’ ” he said.
And he hasn’t gotten comfortable. He has got four pitches in his repertoire — a fastball, slider, changeup and curveball — and will spend the winter honing those.
“When you’re a reliever, it’s mostly fastball, slider,” he said. “So, there are things I’ve got to work on.”
Ryan Feierabend is to start Thursday’s game in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners tapped the left-hander to fill the rotation vacancy caused by an ineffective Horacio Ramirez being demoted to the bullpen over the weekend.
Mariners manager John McLaren wouldn’t say why Feierabend was picked over other candidates. Feierabend lost a May outing in Anaheim in which he pitched 6-2/3 innings of four-run ball.
The Angels, as a group, are 7 for 26 (.269) off him.
Seattle still needs another starter for next week’s doubleheader against Cleveland.
One candidate rejoined the team Monday after a three-month absence. Cha Seung Baek hasn’t pitched since being sidelined by shoulder tendinitis after a June 17 game.
“I didn’t throw a ball for four weeks,” Baek said.
He began a laborious rehabilitation program after that, eventually making five starts combined at Class A and Class AAA.
When the season ended for AAA Tacoma on Sept. 3, the team told Baek to go to its Peoria, Ariz., training facility to stay ready.
“I threw some bullpen [sessions] and two simulated games,” he said.
Baek went 3-3 with a 5.74 ERA in 11 starts before his injury.
But his outings grew progressively shorter and worse as the pain in his shoulder increased.
“I tried to pitch through it,” he said.
• Ichiro extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff single in the sixth inning.
• Seattle won consecutive games on the road for the first time since Aug. 23-24 in Texas. The team had been 2-10 in road games before Monday’s 4-0 win.