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Rowland-Smith makes long journey back to Majors

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PHOENIX -- It had been three full seasons in between Major League appearances for D-backs left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith. And after pitching the ninth inning in relief Wednesday night against the Giants, Rowland-Smith said it was worth the wait.

"It went well; I was a little nervous," Rowland-Smith said Thursday only hours before the two teams concluded their four-game Opening Series at Chase Field. "I'm always nervous the first time out there for the season. You're trying to get the monkey off your back. The fact that it's been three years was kind of weird. But once I settled in, I was just trying to make pitches."

Rowland Smith last threw in a big league game as a member of the Mariners against the A's on Oct. 2, 2010. Since then, he's had to overcome some injuries and circumstances to get back on the mound in the Major Leagues.

At this juncture, Rowland-Smith was the big beneficiary of the D-backs' decision to carry a 13-man pitching staff this early in the season. That may change when Cody Ross finishes his Minor League rehab from hip surgery. The outfielder left for a stint at Triple-A Reno on Thursday.

"I feel great," Ross said Wednesday night. "I have no idea how long I will be there. They haven't told me."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Ross will have two days on and one off as he begins to round back into baseball shape after last season's horrific right hip injury.

Meanwhile, Rowland-Smith is trying to take advantage of the situation.

"I had injuries, but I don't know whether they kept me out of the big leagues or not," said Rowland-Smith, who allowed a single, walked one and whiffed one in his one inning of work against the Giants. "I got hit in the hand trying to bunt one year. I hurt my back one year. And then last year I had an appendectomy. I was having a great year, so that was a real shame. I was in the Minor Leagues with the Red Sox.

"So little things like that, a couple of things outside of my control, but otherwise when you're in a situation like I was the last couple of years, you have to be stellar to get a chance. It's timing or situations."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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