SHANNON DRAYER

Servais expects Hisashi Iwakuma to play a role for Mariners this season

Mar 14, 2018, 5:12 PM
Hisashi Iwakuma is working his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery. (AP)...
Hisashi Iwakuma is working his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery. (AP)
(AP)

Hisashi Iwakuma hasn’t pitched for the Mariners since experiencing shoulder inflammation last May and is working his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery on a minor league contract, but he has been playing long toss on a daily basis for about a week now. Mariners manager Scott Servais provided an update on the veteran right-handed pitcher Wednesday.

Servais optimistic Mariners will be healthy for opening day

“All reports on Kuma have been very, very good,” Servais said. “We are not in a rush to get him back. Last year the clock was ticking. ‘Can we get him in there?’ We are in a different spot right now. We can be a little more patient in coming back.”

The plan is to give Kuma extra time to focus on building arm strength leading into his first bullpen, which could be thrown late next week.

Servais said he turned to Kuma in the dugout after Marco Gonzales was knocked out of his start Monday and asked if he was ready yet.

“I think he is going to play a role for us at some point this season,” Servais said. “I really do.”

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Servais expects Hisashi Iwakuma to play a role for Mariners this season