09/03/10 9:58 PM ET
Rowland-Smith activated from disabled list
Lefty to be used out of 'pen, but can make spot start if needed
By Jim Street / MLB.com
The left-hander was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and rejoined the Mariners prior to their game against the Indians at Safeco Field.
The 27-year-old Australian native had been on the DL since July 28 with a lower back strain. He made five rehab starts for Triple-A Tacoma, including one Thursday night in the final home game of the Rainiers' season.
Rowland-Smith surrendered one earned run in seven innings against Colorado Springs and ended his prolonged rehab stint 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA.
"I had an idea I might [get activated] because there are only four games left and I pitched on Thursday," he said. "I was hoping, but wasn't 100 percent sure until they told me last night, so I didn't have to get up at 5 a.m. like the rest of the guys."
The Rainiers traveled to Fresno, Calif., for the last four games of the Pacific Coast League regular season, clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead in the North.
Rowland-Smith returned to the Mariners much more confident than when he left in July, packing with him a 1-10 record and 6.69 ERA in 22 games, including 19 starts.
"I saw him when he first walked into the [Tacoma] clubhouse in Iowa, and he wasn't as confident as I'd seen him before," said interim manager Daren Brown. "That kind of bothered me. That's a big tool he's always had.
"I've said it before, that we can grade out fastballs and grade out offspeed pitches, but what a guy has inside, as far as wanting to compete and wanting to go out and beat the other guy, that's tough to grade that out.
"He's always been a very competitive guy, and in talking to him today, I think he's gotten some of that back. I'm looking forward to getting him out there in four or five days."
Rowland-Smith will pitch out of the bullpen for the time being, possibly getting some starts during the final three weeks of the season.
"We've got some off-days coming up and we can work around those," Brown said. "But if we do need a spot start, maybe back a guy up and give [another starter] an extra day, he gives us a little of that."
Rowland-Smith's preivous outing with Seattle was July 27 against the Cubs at Safeco Field, where he surrendered 11 runs on 11 hits in five innings.
Hit records just keep coming for Ichiro
SEATTLE -- The hits keep coming for Ichiro Suzuki, and he keeps getting them at a record pace.
The master of the infield single, even at age 36, reached the 2,200-hit mark in his Major League career in the series finale against the Angels on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.
It was his 1,559th game with the Mariners. No one in the past 65 years reached the 2,200-hit plateau faster. Hall of Famers Stan Musial (1,669 games), Tony Gwynn (1,693), Kirby Puckett (1,705) and Wade Boggs (1,710) all took longer.
In case you missed it, on the same day Felix Hernandez recorded his 1,000th career strikeout -- during the second game of a day/night doubleheader -- Ichiro struck out for the 1,000th time in his professional career. He fanned 333 times in 951 games overseas and 667 times in 1,553 games for the Mariners.
Figgins makes kid's dream come true
SEATTLE -- Second baseman Chone Figgins had a companion at his side wherever he went Friday afternoon.
Wherever Figgins went, 12-year-old Ferdinand Bellerman followed -- whether it was in the clubhouse, in the video room or on the field, where he took some batting practice.
"He's my favorite player," said Bellerman, an Angels fan from Tustin, Calif.
It was all part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfilled Bellerman's desire to meet Figgins. His idol gave his new friend a bat and jersey.
Bellarman suffers from osteosarcoma, a life-threatening condition. His disease makes mobility very difficult. He recently received a prosthetic leg to help him move more easily.
The Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers announced their annual team awards on Thursday. Left-hander Luke French, who started Friday's night's game against the Indians, was named Pitcher of the Year for compiling an 11-3 record. Third baseman Matt Mangini, batting .316 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs, landed Offensive Player of the Year honors, and outfielder Greg Halman was named the Defensive Player of the Year. ... Ichiro Suzuki leads the Major Leagues with 55 multihit games. ... Russell Branyan's two-run home run Thursday night ended a streak of seven consecutive games without a dinger.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.