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Ryan Rowland-Smith

Ryan Rowland-Smith - LHP
Hometown:
Sydney, NSW
Debut: 22 June 2007
Final Game: Still active
Teams played for: Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks

Left-handed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith came from an athletic family, though when he decided to dedicate his time to baseball, the sport was still an unusual choice for a young Australian athlete.

Rowland-Smith was born in Sydney and grew up further up the coast in Newcastle. He signed with the Seattle Mariners as a 17-year-old amateur free agent in 2000, making his professional debut the next season for the Rookie-level AZL Mariners and going 1-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 17 appearances. Though he rose rather quickly through the Mariners' system, repeated elbow injuries slowed him down.

While in the Minors, Rowland-Smith also took the time to represent his home country, pitching for the silver medal-winning Australian national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. With his Minor League teammates watching closely from the States, Rowland-Smith impressed as one of the team's most reliable relievers, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four appearances.

His Olympic performance helped Rowland-Smith's stock as a rising pitching prospect, and he began the 2007 season with Triple-A Tacoma. In the middle of the season, the Mariners called him up and he made his MLB debut on 22 June 2007, pitching 1 1/3 innings of a blowout 16-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Rowland-Smith allowed just one hit and struck out two batters in his debut, and spent most of the rest of the season with the big league club. He finished the 2007 season with a 1-0 record and 3.96 ERA in 26 MLB games and began the 2008 season as a reliever in the Seattle bullpen. During the season, however, the Mariners decided to convert their young lefty to a starter, sending him back to Triple-A to complete the transition.

Rowland-Smith dominated in his new role, becoming the first Mariners starter since 2002 to pitch eight consecutive quality starts. He posted a 5-3 record and 3.42 ERA in 47 games and 12 starts in 2008, and was named the No. 8 prospect in the Mariners' organization by Baseball America.

Seattle continued to use "the Hyphen" as a starter, though once again injuries hampered his success. He struggled as a member of the rotation in 2010, and the Mariners declined to re-sign him after the season. That MLB offseason, Rowland-Smith was named to the Sydney Blue Sox 35-man roster in the first season of the new ABL, though he did not appear in a game.

The southpaw spent the next few seasons with a few different Triple-A affiliates of several different teams, trying to work his way back to the top. Rowland-Smith earned another chance at MLB success in 2014 for the Arizona Diamondbacks and had the rare opportunity to pitch against his teammates during the historic 2014 Opening Series in Sydney while suiting up for Team Australia. The Aussies shocked the Diamondbacks with a 5-0 victory, and Rowland-Smith took the mound in the win.

After being granted free agency by the Diamondbacks at the end of April, he spent the rest of the season in the Minors with several different teams, and remains a free agent. Rowland-Smith currently pitches for the Estrellas de Oriente of the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano.

View Ryan Rowland-Smith's career statistics from Baseball Reference.