Manager Don Wakamatsu confirmed that Ryan Rowland-Smith will indeed be the starter on Friday. Erik Bedard will be pushed back to Saturday and Garrett Olson will not start on Sunday, and the final decision on who will make that start hasn't been determined.
Wakamatsu gave two reasons for pushing Bedard back: 1. the extra rest is always good for Bedard because of his past shoulder issues. 2. It would set him up to start the opening game of the Texas series July 30.
So here's how it slots
Today - Felix Hernandez
Thursday - Jarrod Washburn
Friday - Ryan Rowland-Smith
Saturday - Erik Bedard
Sunday - To be announced.
When asked about what has him impressed him most with Rowland-Smith's recent outings, Wakamatsu said:
"I think the progression as much as anything," he said. "Just the fact the velocity was up. There were different reports good and bad. I wouldn't say bad, but the location on certain pitches could be better. The overall improvement...it's kind of what we talked about, him going down and getting ample work. We want to see how he'll fare up here."
Trying to figure out the roster moves in the future for Rowland-Smith being called up or Olson's replacement isn't easy. Wakamatsu was asked if he had a preference for the number of pitchers he would carry, and he said he isn't leaning toward 11 or 12 at this point. So it will kind of depend how the starts go today and tomorrow.
A quick note on Adrian Beltre, he took ground balls yesterday and will probably hit off a tee next week.
"He says he's ready," Wakamatsu joked.
But Beltre probably believes it. He seems to be pushing to get back as soon as possible. The groundball session on Tuesday was an example.
"It was supposed to controlled ground balls right at him and then all of the sudden you see someone hook one down the line and he snatches it," Wakamatsu said. "Everything is going really good with him."
Beltre still doesn't have complete range of motion in his left shoulder. Until he does, he will be limited.
"It's improving every day," Wakamatsu said. "And for him to go out and do what he did yesterday, it shows how good he is feeling. You just have to be a little cautious with him because he does feel he can play tomorrow."
Beltre's original prognosis for return was 6-8 weeks, and when asked if might be closer to six, Wakamatsu said: "I think so."
As for Garrett Olson, the problem seems to be that the Mariners coaching staff believes in him and his stuff more than Olson himself. Wakamatsu has been trying to change that thinking. And hopes some time in the bullpen will be the cure.
"Because his stuff is good as we think it is, that's why we think 'OK, let's get back to the bullpen and see if he can do it out of there, like he's done already.'" He's already proven he can do it there.
But Olson suddenly finding confidence in himself won't happen overnight.
"You ask yourself what comes first, your belief system or success?" Wakamatsu said. "I think it's a little of both. You have to constantly find little successes in what you do. That's what we're hoping with the bullpen that he goes back in there and is as effective as he was before and the continues to build in his belief system."
Wakamatsu is stressing being aggressive and working his fast.
"I think sometimes he slows the game down to the point where he gets real methodical and conscious about his delivery," Wakamatsu said. "When he comes out of the bullpen, he seems to just grab the ball and throw it. And that's what we tried to do with him yesterday and in the start before, we said, hey you're getting too analytical out there. But it's not an easy thing to stand in front of 20,000 people and throw out there, but as we go fowrad its something he has to do."