SEATTLE -- The Mariners took one player off the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday night's game against the Angels but put another one on. As expected, right fielder Ichiro Suzuki returned to active duty, making his regular-season debut. Unexpectedly, the organization created an opening on the 25-man roster for Ichiro by placing left-handed starter Ryan Rowland-Smith on the 15-day DL with triceps tendinitis. He will be eligible to return on April 26.
Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas, who has starting experience in the Minor Leagues, will take Rowland-Smith's spot in the rotation and start Thursday night's series finale against the Angels. Jakubauskas has made two relief appearances during the regular season and hasn't been stretched out, so his pitch count will be lower than other starters. "It's going to depend on how easy his innings are," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We can't stretch him out to 100, but we'll take it as the game goes along." Rowland-Smith was bummed about how this season has started. He passed up on opportunity to play for Australia in the World Baseball Classic to concentrate on Spring Training and secured a spot in the rotation as the fifth starter. There was a six-day gap between his final Spring Training appearance and his first regular-season outing and it didn't go particularly well. He started the opener of a three-game series against the Athletics last Friday night in Oakland and threw 82 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. He said then that he never was able to "get locked in" the way he did at the end of last season, when he reeled off eight straight quality starts. Rowland-Smith said he felt fine after the Oakland game and had his normal bullpen session two days later. But there was some discomfort on Monday. "I was driving home after the workout and my elbow didn't feel right," Rowland-Smith said. "I had been doing some stuff in the weight room with [head athletic trainer Rick Griffin] and my elbow didn't respond the way it normally does. It is really stiff right now and I don't have good range-of-motion." Wakamatsu said he didn't believe it's a long-term issue. "To be on the safe side, we think it's the right move to make," he said. "It just seems to be some swelling in there. Everything seems to check out and it's a safer move at this point." The Mariners will use an 11-man pitching for the time being. "It is very frustrating," Rowland-Smith said. "I made the team out of Spring Training, am in the rotation and all of a sudden ... " The lefty said he has felt "really stressed" the past couple of days. "I want to use this next week to reflect on last year, reflect on Spring Training and just get my mind in a positive place and go from there," Rowland-Smith said.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.