What's Buzzing:

Rowland-Smith: a tale of 2 teams in 2 days

AP - Sports

SYDNEY (AP) -- Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith is being pulled in two directions this week as Major League Baseball prepares for its season-opening series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Make that two different teams.

The Sydney-born 31-year-old left-hander will suit up for Team Australia in Thursday night's exhibition game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, then pitch against his national team on Friday night when the Diamondbacks play the Australians.

Hanging in the balance is a spot on the Diamondbacks' opening-day 25-man roster, where manager Kirk Gibson says Rowland-Smith is ''in the mix'' for one of the bullpen spots.

''I feel like the 'Australian Ryan' meets the 'U.S. Ryan' right now,'' Rowland Smith said.

Rowland-Smith spent the entire season last year with Triple-A Pawtucket, going 7-0 with one save and a 1.55 ERA. He's also had a stellar spring training, not giving up an earned run.

Craig Shipley, an Australian and former major leaguer who is special assistant to Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, says Rowland-Smith's double duty ''might confuse some people.''

''One night he's wearing an Australian uniform, the next night he's playing for the Diamondbacks,'' Shipley said. ''But it's a unique angle. Ryan is excited about it.''

''I think we can squeeze out an inning each night, he'll definitely pitch for Australia. I've been talking to Gibby (Gibson) and they're OK with him pitching one inning and an inning the next night.''

Rowland-Smith says he never would have imagined 10 years ago that a Major League Baseball season would open a season in his hometown.

''I grew up in a place where baseball wasn't recognized, and went to the U.S. and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the sport,'' Rowland-Smith said.

"I've been living with that for 13 years as a professional at different levels. So to have it come back now where baseball was never recognized, it's come full circle.''

National pride aside, Rowland-Smith says he's focused on one thing.

''On a personal level, it's important for me to get back to the big leagues,'' he said. "I came in here with a purpose, and just want to make this team.''

View Comments (0)
  • Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees

    Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees

    A-Rod capped his rehab stint with a thunderous home run and a bat flip. He's expected back with the Yankees on Thursday. … More »

    Big League Stew - 4 minutes 55 seconds ago
  • Villar's RBI single in 13th, Brewers beat Braves 3-2

    Villar's RBI single in 13th, Brewers beat Braves 3-2

    The Milwaukee Brewers squandered a bases-loaded chance in the 12th inning. Jonathan Villar made sure they didn't blow it again in the 13th. Villar slapped a run-scoring single to left field on an 0-2 pitch, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 3-2 … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Dodgers beat Reds 3-1 behind Kazmir to complete 3-game sweep

    Dodgers beat Reds 3-1 behind Kazmir to complete 3-game sweep

    Joc Pederson hit a go-ahead, two-run single with two outs in the fourth inning and Scott Kazmir struck out 12, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep. The Dodgers have … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago
  • Recap: TOR 8, NYY 4

    Recap: TOR 8, NYY 4

    5/25/16: Martin's two homers power Blue Jays to win … More »

    MLB.com - 32 minutes ago
  • Gattis, Valbuena lead Astros past O's

    Gattis, Valbuena lead Astros past O's

    Evan Gattis is proving how valuable he is at catcher for the Houston Astros. Gattis hit a two-run homer and Luis Valbuena had a tiebreaking solo shot in the sixth inning that gave the Astros a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago