I think a large portion of the LL-verse still roots for Ryan Rowland-Smith to succeed. It carries the ancillary benefit of making the Mariners better and Ryan seems like a swell guy. His awful performances this season might have damaged his likability a bit but people still had a mostly positive feeling about him in early May.
I was going to write a potentially interesting paragraph here about Hyphen's service time and how this trip down to Tacoma would likely prevent him from eclipsing three years of service and thus delay his eligibility for free agency by a season. Then I remember that he was put on the disabled list, not optioned so he's currently still earning service time. Therefore, enjoy this reminder that he will be arbitration eligible this winter for the first time and a Major League free agent after 2013!
Whether there was an actual injury worthy of a DL trip or not, Ryan needed to get back to Tacoma to try to figure out what he was missing from his 2009 season. It's early but Ryan's three starts down south so far have been encouraging.
08/07: 96 pitches, 66% strikes, 10 swinging, 50% GBs, 6 Ks, 0 BBs, 0 HRs
08/13: 96 pitches, 66% strikes, 4 swinging, 35% GBs, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HRs
08/18: 100 pitches, 64% strikes, 13 swinging, 56% GBs, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HRs
The middle start against Round Rock isn't fabulous but the lack of walks and home runs throughout all three starts are what I am mostly looking for. Ryan's biggest problems with Seattle this year stemmed from falling behind too many hitters and serving up gopher balls like they were buy one, get two free. The high whiff rates in the first (vs. Iowa) and last (vs. Albuquerque) starts are a nice bonus too.
I would prefer to get some truthful notes from scouts in Tacoma and from the pitching coach down there and from Ryan himself before I even think this is anything more than getting to face mediocre minor league hitting. I am not going to claim that he's re-found himself based solely on three Triple-A starts, but good signs are better than continued mediocre signs. There's a reason you haven't seen a post like this about Ian Snell for instance.