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Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto: Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch again in 2017, but not certain when

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma last pitched for the Mariners on May 3. (AP)

Hisashi Iwakuma was so close to returning to the Mariners that they even had a date set: Saturday night against the Astros. But as has been the case on many occasions this season for Seattle, plans have taken a left turn. Now the team is building a new plan for Iwakuma, one that doesn’t yet have a clear timetable for the veteran right-hander’s return.

“He’s going to pitch again at some point in 2017, just not entirely certain when it will be,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told “Danny, Dave and Moore” during his weekly interview.

Listen: The Jerry Dipoto Show

Iwakuma had a rough rehab outing on Monday with Triple-A Tacoma, allowing four runs in two innings, but those results aren’t the only reason why the Mariners have decided to take a step back with him as he works his way back from shoulder inflammation that first landed him on the disabled list in early May.

“More so than the poor outing, I think it’s we want to make sure that Kuma is healthy before he takes the mound,” Dipoto said. “Right now he’s obviously working his way back from the shoulder issues that he’s experienced and neither the club nor Hisashi feels great about where he is right now.”

Dipoto said the Mariners will reassess Iwakuma’s situation – likely after a bullpen session that manager Scott Servais has hinted at – before determining when he will go out on another rehab start.