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04/11/10 7:45 PM ET
Duchscherer, Rowland-Smith get early rematch
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
A's righty Justin Duchscherer and Mariners lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith faced each other last week in Oakland and will face each other again Monday afternoon in the Safeco Field home opener. Neither got a decision, so both are once again gunning for their first win. After missing portions of 2009, Duchscherer and Rowland-Smith are counted on to be big parts of their teams' starting rotations this year. It can start on Monday, when both are looking to rebound from uneven starts in Wednesday's game, which was eventually won by the A's, 6-5, in walk-off fashion in the ninth inning. Duchscherer, who missed all of last season following elbow surgery and a bout with clinical depression, described his last start -- 5 2/3 innings, seven hits, five runs, four strikeouts -- as "average." "I never felt good," he said. "I felt like I was battling. I was battling trying to get people out." Rowland-Smith, meanwhile, used the same word to describe his outing, one in which the Australian gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings. "I battled and stayed away from the big inning," he said. "I got the count to 3-and-2 on some guys and they would foul off a few pitches and that got my pitch count up a bit. But, overall, I felt fine and thought I was throwing strikes. I left the ball up a couple of times and got hurt." Rowland-Smith will have to battle not only the A's, but adrenaline on Monday, when Safeco is expected to be packed for Seattle's much-anticipated home opener after a flurry of moves by general manager Jack Zduriencik in the offseason. The southpaw said he's looking forward to it. "It's going to be cool," he said. A's: Designated hitter Jack Cust was added to Triple-A Sacramento's roster on Sunday, a day after accepting an outright assignment following being designated on April 3. Cust was in the River Cats' lineup on Sunday afternoon game against Portland. ... Duchscherer is 1-5 with a 3.90 ERA in 32 games in his career against Seattle, although only five of those appearances were starts. Mariners: Seattle fans are gearing up for the return of the beloved Big Unit at Safeco on Sunday when former Mariners lefty and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson throws out the ceremonial first pitch. Johnson won 130 games during his 10-year career with the Mariners and remains a crowd favorite. "What he means to the city of Seattle and all that he's done here and done for the game, it's a pretty special thing," Mariners lefty Jason Vargas said last year after the two dueled each other in Seattle while a member of the San Francisco Giants. "Whenever you get a chance to be a part of something like that, it's pretty special. He is one of the greatest and there is a lot of respect here." ... Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard gave the Mariners very good news during Sunday's bullpen sessions. Lee threw 47 pitches and Bedard tossed 45, impressing manager Don Wakamatsu. "Both looked really good," Wakamatsu said. "Both of the guys feel absolutely no pain." Worth noting: A's veteran Eric Chavez continues to shatter club records. On Saturday, Chavez passed Danny Murphy for seventh on the club's doubles list after recording a two-base hit -- the 276th of his career -- in the seventh inning against the Angels. Chavez also compiled his 525th extra-base hit, which tied Jimmy Dykes for sixth in A's history. ... There's plenty of fun on tap for the Mariners' home opener aside from Johnson and Rowland-Smith. Seattle band Death Cab for Cutie will sing a pair of songs, the national anthem will be performed by Navy Band Northwest, the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards will be presented to Ichiro Suzuki and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum "Rube" Foster American League Executive of the Year Award will be presented to Zduriencik. In addition, there will be a moment of silence to remember officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, Greg Richards, Sgt. Mark Renninger, deputy Kent Mundell and officer Timothy Brenton, who were police officers killed in the line of duty last year.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.