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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 26, 2008 10:50 PM

Rowland-Smith, Felix and Morrow, and the rest is sorrow

Posted by Larry Stone

It's never too early to come up with a good slogan. Rowland-Smith is suddenly looking like a very viable candidate for the rotation next year, and now Morrow is penciled in to start one of the games in the Yankees' series at Safeco, Sept. 5-7. As far as rebuilding goes, a rotation centered around those two, plus King Felix, isn't a bad place to start.

If Bedard can rebound strongly enough to get a good haul at the trade deadline, maybe a turnaround can be executed quicker than we've been thinking. Or not.

At any rate, Rowland-Smith has now had back-to-back strong seven-inning efforts. And give a shout out to Roy Corcoran, who got his first major league save (after 82 in the minors). Riggleman said that he wasn't going to use J.J. Putz under any circumstances, because he's pitched or thrown in the pen in eight of the last 10 games. J.J. actually got up to throw in the ninth, and Riggleman immediately got in the bullpen phone to Norm Charlton and told him to have Putz sit down. Corcoran is looking like he can be a useful member of the bullpen. He's been given an opportunity and is making the most of it.

Did anyone catch the play in the fifth when Carlos Gomez broke his bat on a fly out to center, and the jagged barrel went hurtling out to third base. Adrian Beltre had to leap to avoid it. I'm guessing it was a maple bat. Forget about instant replay -- baseball needs to do something about those maple bats before someone -- player, coach, umpire or fan -- gets killed. Seriously. Those things are lethal weapons, and they're breaking at scary rates. Unlike traditional ash bats, when maple bats break, they seem to almost always get severed, with the barrel going who knows where. I'd like to see them either banned or regulations put in place in the manufacturing to make them sturdier.

I'm not sure how a Rowland-Smith rave turned into a maple bat rant, but there you go. Unfortunately for the Strasburg Sweepstakes, the Mariners have a little groove going, having won three straight and four of five on the homestand. And they've beaten the Twins four of five at Safeco this month, hurting their AL Central chances. Tomorrow, Jarrod Washburn gets a crack at the team he was almost traded to.

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