SEATTLE -- Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith's patience has been tested the past week, and he has not been real good at it.
"I was ready to have a huge year and now I'm at a standstill," Rowland-Smith said on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm like a car that has broken down on a freeway, had to pull off to the side and wait for help."
Rowland-Smith has been on the shoulder of the highway since April 15, the day he went on the 15-day disabled list with triceps tendinitis. It was backdated to April 10, when he made his first start of the regular season, a 3 1/3-inning sting against the Athletics in Oakland.
He felt fine after the rocky outing, but experienced discomfort three days later while playing catch. The organization decided it was best to put Rowland-Smith on the DL and give him the time needed to heal.
He was examined by team medical director Dr. Ed Khalfayan prior to Tuesday night's series opener against the Rays.
"It's getting better, but is still a little aggravated and I just have to be patient," Rowland-Smith said. "I can't wait to start throwing, but I don't know when that will be."
He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, when the team finishes a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim, but says he has no idea if that will happen.
It appears that even if he started working his arm back into playing condition, it would take a few more days to regain his spot in the starting rotation, currently occupied by right-hander Chris Jakubauskas.
"I'm trying to be patient, but it's difficult," Rowland-Smith said. "I have a new found respect for people on the DL. I don't know how guys spend the entire season on it. You are here, in the clubhouse and watching the games, but you feel detached from the team."
Rowland-Smith was hoping to start this season the way he ended last season -- as the hottest pitcher in the rotation.
He ended the '08 campaign with eight consecutive quality starts and was so determined to retain his rotation status that he passed up an opportunity to pitch for Australia in the World Baseball Classic.
Rowland-Smith will miss his second consecutive start on Wednesday, when the Mariners end their nine-game homestand.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.