Hisashi Iwakuma has been sidelined for more than a month with a strained tendon in his middle finger, but the Mariners right-hander has been cleared to resume throwing after meeting with doctors.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Iwakuma will start slow by throwing tennis balls Friday and then hopefully advance to baseballs early next week.
There’s zero chance for him to be ready for Opening Day and seemingly still a decent chance that Iwakuma will miss most and perhaps all of April, but for now the Mariners haven’t put forth an official return timetable.
His health is a huge factor in Seattle’s odds of contending this season, as Iwakuma emerged as one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball last year with a 2.66 ERA and 185/42 K/BB ratio in 220 innings spread over 33 starts.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez is dealing with “dead arm” and will head back to Seattle to have his shoulder examined, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Hernandez was reportedly visibly upset and left the clubhouse quickly, declining to speak to the media, Divish adds.
Hernandez wasn’t long for Tuesday’s game against the Tigers, as he lasted just two innings, yielding four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. The Mariners went on to lose 19-9. Hernandez is now carrying a 4.73 ERA over his first five starts.
Not much else can go wrong for the Mariners, who are now 8-13 in last place in the AL West. Mitch Haniger also suffered an oblique injury on Tuesday, joining what is becoming a lengthy list of dinged-up Mariners.
Blue Jays pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan found a creative way to beat the tag from Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in the top of the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game.
With the score tied 2-2, the Jays had a runner on first base and one out as Kevin Pillar faced reliever Matt Bowman. Pillar drove a 1-1 fastball to deep right field. Stephen Piscotty leaped in an attempt to make the catch, but the ball caromed off the wall and back towards the field. Coghlan, who was on first, made his way around third towards home. Piscotty threw home past the cutoff man and the ball reached Molina on several bounces. As Molina went low to apply the tag, Coghlan went high, leaping into the air and somersaulting into home plate to score the go-ahead run.
The Blue Jays would go on to score two in the inning, but the Cardinals answered with two of their own in the bottom half of the seventh. As of this writing, the score remains tied at four apiece.