M’s notebook: Updates on Iwakuma, Paxton and more

Apr 18, 2014, 1:43 PM | Updated: 6:58 pm

By Shannon Drayer

MIAMI – Greetings from a very odd house for baseball. Marlins Park has bright colors, fish swimming around behind home plate and a color of green that I don’t believe is in the Crayola box throughout the stadium. It’s kind of like the Trop in St. Petersburg with more windows and colors which in retrospect, adds a lot.

There is also a nightclub in left field, which I was told caused problems in the adjacent bullpen until it was moved. Apparently they had to put a flashing light on the phone because no one could hear it. Very different but it makes sense. Safeco Field wouldn’t really be a good fit here.

Plenty of news and notes to get to with the big news of the day being that Hisashi Iwakuma had his sim game. He pitched two “innings” and faced Logan Morrison, Stefan Romero and James Jones, who was the only one to get a hit off of him. He threw all of his pitches, including the curve, which he would like to throw more this year. After his 35 pitches and full warmup through on the mound he looked pleased with the effort.

“I’m happy that I am in my shoes right now,” Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki.

“I felt good in general, first time facing hitters. I was kind of nervous trying to find my balance but I was able to throw strikes so that was good.”

Logan Morrison had three at-bats against him and after the first turned to teammates and called the splitter “nasty.” He gave the full rundown once he was out of the game.

“His split was pretty good, fastball has life. He threw me one curveball that was really slow and good,” he said. “He could probably pitch today in the rotation from what I saw. Just has to continue to build up strength.”

If Iwakuma checks out OK tomorrow his next throwing session will be a bullpen here in Miami, and he could then start in a rehab game for Tacoma as soon as Tuesday. After that they will take it game by game, according to manager Lloyd McClendon.

“We have to make sure he is ready to compete with all of his pitches,” McClendon said.

As for how many innings he needs to throw, McClendon was not putting a number on that, although he did say that he will need to be able to throw 90 pitches before he rejoins the big club.

On to the game at hand.

Lineup

Almonte 8
Miller 6
Cano 4
Hart 3
Saunders 9
Seager 5
Ackley 7
Zunino 2

Young 1

National League park so Chris Young gets to hit, or hopefully lay down a successful bunt. Talk about a long swing. Corey Hart is in the field on back to back days, not back in right but at first today. This is Justin Smoak’s first day off this season.

Notes

• McClendon announced the starter for Sunday and it is indeed Brandon Maurer.

“I think he deserves the opportunity,” he said. “He was in consideration in spring training to make this club and I think he deserves the opportunity.”

Maurer, who threw 49 pitches in his one and only start in Tacoma, will obviously be on a pitch count, but McClendon wouldn’t say how many he would be allowed to throw.

• I asked head trainer Rick Griffin for an update on James Paxton and learned that he isn’t throwing yet.

“He’s doing everything he needs to do prior to throwing back in Seattle. He won’t throw until after the team doctor examines him which will be when we get back on this next home stand and then he will examine him and determine when he can start throwing.”

Paxton was placed on the 15-day DL April 9 with the strained lat.

• Last but not least, I ran into a familiar face in the team hotel lobby this morning. Franklin Gutierrez, who lives in the area, was there waiting to see his good friend Felix Hernandez. Franklin said that he was confident he made the right decision in taking the year off, because he realized that he needed both the physical and mental break after fighting to find out what was causing all of his health troubles for almost four years. Now that he’s found the right treatment, he said that he is feeling much better and that he hopes to play again some day.

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