Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma suffers setback in return from surgery

Apr 29, 2018, 11:45 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm
Hisashi Iwakuma last pitched in an MLB game for the Mariners in May 2017. (AP)...
Hisashi Iwakuma last pitched in an MLB game for the Mariners in May 2017. (AP)

CLEVELAND – The run of good news for the Mariners came to an end Sunday morning when manager Scott Servais revealed Hisahsi Iwakuma’s sim game in Arizona on Saturday did not go well.

“He shut it down early,” Servais said. “It didn’t feel right, thought it was best to shut it down and give it a little time.”

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Iwakuma, who is coming back from shoulder surgery in September, has been throwing regular bullpens since the end of spring training. He threw his first sim game just over a week ago and by all reports it went well. The Mariners had tentatively planned to get Kuma three sim games before allowing him to start a rehab assignment, but those plans have been put on hold.

“Early thoughts, might be a little tendinitis going on,” Servais said. “I don’t want to read too much into it, he’s still in the early stages. Building him up is going to take a little time.”

Kuma had seemed to be making good progress, throwing nearly every day since spring training. Servais is hopeful that the 37-year-old right-hander is to a spot where he just needs a break.

“We probably need to slow him down, maybe shut him down for a few days to let it calm down,” he said.

Iwakuma hasn’t pitched in a major league game since May 3, 2017, as shoulder issues derailed his attempts to return to the Mariners last season from his initial injury. He signed a minor league deal with the club in the offseason and is not currently on the 40-man roster, and while he has in no way been inked into the Mariners plans for 2018, there has been optimism that he could be available mid-season if the Mariners needed another starter. Servais believes that is still very much a possibility.

“He’s off the path a little bit from where he wants to go but he’ll get back on. I feel confident in that,” he said.

For now, Iwakuma has an appointment to be seen by team doctors and will be shut down for a least a few days. We should have more information on his status early next week.

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