Seattle Mariners rumors include a Hisashi Iwakuma injury update. There is some good news buried in these Mariners rumors, including Iwakuma going through some exercises to build up his arm strength. According to a report from the team on Sunday (Feb. 23), they are not going to officially set a specific return date for the starting pitcher. They also didn't rule out that he could be ready to pitch for the team in the second game of the regular season (April 2 against the Angels).
On Sunday, the veteran starting pitcher was going through his throwing motions on a bullpen mound to help keep his arm strength up. He first did it without the ball and then did so using a towel wrapped around his hand to simulate the weight of the baseball. He commented that he was feeling very good and that everything was good other than his finger. It is that finger which has been a concern during Spring Training, as he strained a tendon in it during a freak injury as soon as camps started. He isn't allowed to throw a baseball until the doctor clears him, but it has been suggested that could come in about three to four weeks now.
If these Seattle Mariners rumors play out as suggested he could face a best-case scenario of returning to the mound in mid-March. That could possibly give him around 15 days to prepare throwing and two or three Spring Training starts to get his control back. It's a stretch to assume that he could then be ready to pitch against the Los Angeles Angels on April 2, but it could end up happening, even if he is placed on an innings limit. If he can do that and the rotation can get set from day one, then the team will be better off in the long-run.
Last season, Hisashi Iwakuma had the best numbers on the pitching staff, making 33 starts and going 219 2.3 innings. He finished with a 14-6 record, a 2.66 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.01. Those are numbers that the team would love to see again in the 2014 MLB season, which is why it is also in the best interest of the front office and coaching staff not to rush him back. He is keeping in shape and getting his stamina up, but the biggest question will be just how well his hand responds to gripping the baseball again.
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