PEORIA, Ariz. – Ryan Rowland-Smith chose his livelihood over his country.
As expected, the Seattle Mariners’ promising left-hander decided Sunday to stay in spring training rather than play for his native Australia in the World Baseball Classic.
He said Australia’s manager, Jon Deeble, was disappointed but understood Rowland-Smith didn’t want to risk a major league job by missing at least 10 days of camp beginning March 2.
“I’m better served here,” said the brawny 26-year-old, one of seven candidates for five spots in Seattle’s rotation. “I didn’t want to derail what I’d worked for all offseason.
“It was a tough, tough, tough decision, but this is what’s more important.”
Rowland-Smith was 3-2 with a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts last season. His first major league start came July 1. From Aug. 21 through season’s end, his 2.56 ERA was the lowest among starters in the American League.
“If I want to do something, I should do it 100 percent,” Rowland-Smith said.
“I want to be in this rotation. All or nothing.”