And were off!!

Admittedly a little bit nervous at the start, left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith began his pursuit of a spot in the Mariners rotation on this sunny, pleasant Wednesday afternoon at Peoria Stadium.

The Aussie tossed two scoreless innings against the Padres in the Mariners’ charity game.

“I was working on throwing strikes, staying back and getting a good feel of my release point,” Rowland-Smith said after his initial outing. “It’s the first time I’ve pitched since last September and the nerves run through you no matter what.”

Rowland-Smith threw 32 pitches, 17 of them for strikes.

“It was good to get a chance to pitch out of a jam,” he said. “To give up a leadoff hit and walk a guy, it’s good just to see what you’re made of. Sometimes in Spring Training, you have a 1-2-3 inning and you drive home thinking you got lucky there. I was fortunate to pitch my way out of that (first inning) jam.”

Rowland-Smith departed with a 2-0 lead, but that vanished in the third when the Padres scored three runs off lefty Garrett Olsen.

— Jim Street

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