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Rowland-Smith struggles in rehab stint

Rowland-Smith struggles in rehab stint

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' game plan for left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith might be changed.

In what was supposed to be his final rehab start in the Minor Leagues on Friday night at Triple-A Tacoma, Rowland-Smith was rocked for 14 hits and 12 runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Reno Aces.

He called it the worst outing of his eight-plus year professional career.

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It definitely opened some eyes at Safeco Field and the game he was tentatively scheduled to start, Thursday night in Baltimore against the Orioles, could be scrapped.

"With the outing last night, we're going to make a decision on that [Thursday start]," manager Don Wakamatsu said Saturday. "The one thing right now is we have to make sure that he's ready to pitch on Thursday. The outing last night obviously was not what we were looking for."

Rowland-Smith has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 11, the day after making his only appearance of the season -- a start against the Athletics in Oakland.

His recovery from triceps tendinitis has been slow and tedious, but appeared to be on the verge of ending after solid back-to-back rehab outings with Tacoma.

Friday night's outing was a major setback and the only positive was that he got his pitch count up to 100 pitches.

"We've been talking to [Tacoma manager] Darren Brown down there," said Wakamatsu. "Rick [pitching coach Rick Adair], Jack [general manager Jack Zdurienci]) and I will make a decision in the next day or so on whether [Rowland-Smith] will pitch Thursday's game or not."

Wakamatsu said the decision would not be based entirely on numbers, taking into consideration the type of hits that were allowed, and whether health was an issue.

"It's not that we need to see something, but we want to make sure we make the right decision," Wakamatsu said.

The last thing the Mariners want is for Rowland-Smith to be activated on Thursday, re-injure himself and have to be put back on the 15-day DL.

"He feels like he's ready to pitch up here," Wakamatsu said. "You want to hear that from anybody. What we're talking about is how he felt, command-wise. We want to be careful with what we're doing.

"We accomplished one thing. We got him up to the pitch count we were talking about. But going into a place like Baltimore with that lineup, is he ready to pitch in that situation?"

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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