Rowland-Smith starting to develop edge

Rowland-Smith starting to develop edge

SEATTLE -- As the Mariners figure to regain a couple of starting pitchers in the coming weeks, there also figures to be some competition brewing in the starting rotation.

Doug Fister has pitched more than well enough to make his case for a spot in Seattle's 2010 starting rotation. Brandon Morrow has been progressing steadily and developing his changeup in Triple-A Tacoma, and will be a September callup. And Carlos Silva continues to work his way back toward taking the mound, something that could also happen in September.

But Tuesday's starter, Ryan Rowland-Smith, despite spending a chunk of this season in Triple-A, is one guy who has likely done enough this season to not have to worry too much about that kind of decision-making.

He's pitched well enough since returning from a lengthy rehab stint, in fact, that he could be the team's No. 2 starter by the time next season rolls around.

The left-hander gave up five earned runs in his last start against Detroit, but notched quality starts in his two outings prior to that one, and had a no-hitter through the sixth inning on July 21 against the Blue Jays.

Another solid outing on Tuesday against the Athletics may help further cement his role as a go-to starter for this team.

It's been a long climb back for Rowland-Smith, but now that he's here and pitching well, he seems to have established an edge in the competition that's about to ensue.

"I just sort of felt like the only thing I can do down here is just pitch my way back up to the big leagues," Rowland-Smith said. "I felt like I did that down there. And once I got here, I've done it before, I've done it successfully before, so I felt confident in what I was going to do and I was happy with what I'd accomplished in Triple-A."

The timing of his callup in late July couldn't have been better. It gave him an opportunity to show why he should be a strong part of the rotation moving forward, giving him that chance just before the bevy of starting pitchers who will try to pitch their way into the rotation.

Rowland-Smith is 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in seven starts with Seattle this year. He went on the disabled list in April with left triceps tendinitis, then struggled through some rough outings in Triple-A before turning things around and pitching his way back into the bigs.

His work this year should give him a pretty good boost when it comes to determining who's going to be in Seattle's rotation next season.

"I think when I look back this year, when the offseason rolls around, what I've done in the big leagues and what I've done in Triple-A, the body of work, the whole thing combined and just coming back from the injury and just sort of having to prove myself all over again ... I've learned a lot and I've come a long way," Rowland-Smith said.

Pitching matchup
SEA: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 4.24 ERA)
The lefty from Australia had mixed results in his previous outing. He was impressive in the first three innings while retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced and not-so-good over the next 2 1/3 innings, surrendering a pair of solo home runs, four walks and a double. All three of the runners he left on base when he departed in the sixth inning scored, which hiked his ERA over the 4.00 mark. Opponents are 3-for-23 against him in the first inning. He appears to be a homebody, posting a 2-1 record and 3.25 ERA at Safeco Field this season and is 0-0 with a 6.39 ERA on the road.

OAK: LHP Brett Anderson (7-9, 4.51 ERA)
Anderson threw seven impressive innings on Wednesday but surrendered a two-run home run to Mark Teixeira that proved to be the difference in a 3-2 loss to the Yankees. The 21-year-old rookie allowed three runs on six hits and struck out six. Anderson is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 64 2/3 innings over his past 10 starts. After giving up five runs in six innings against Seattle in his Major League debut on April 10, Anderson held the Mariners to one run in six innings on May 25.

Tidbits
Reliever Chris Jakubauskas, who was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday due to a sore shoulder, played catch on Monday and will throw a bullpen session before actually heading to Tacoma. Manager Don Wakamatsu said he wants Jakubauskas to get two outings in with the Rainiers. ... Ryan Langerhans is still a little sore after running into the left-field wall in Cleveland, but could be used in an emergency situation. ... Carlos Silva will throw somewhere between 35-40 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday, and may be sent out for a rehab stint if all goes well. ... Adrian Beltre, still sidelined with swelling in his severely contused right testicle, took batting practice and participated in some other light activity before Monday's game. He's eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 28, and it's possible he'll be ready to go by that day.

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On the Internet
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Up next
• Wednesday: Mariners (Luke French, 3-3, 3.83) vs. Athletics (Gio Gonzalez, 4-4, 5.78), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Mariners (Doug Fister, 1-0, 2.21) vs. Royals (Kyle Davies, 4-9, 6.12), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Friday: Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 12-5, 2.73) vs. Royals (Brian Bannister, 7-10, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. PT

Christian Caple is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.