Mariners receive good news on Hisashi Iwakuma

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The Mariners got some good news on right-hander hisashi Iwakuma. Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports that the right-hander was fully cleared. Iwakuma will be able to resume his throwing program as he makes his way back from a strained middle finger. Mid-to-late April remains the target for his return.

Iwakuma, 32, finished third in AL Cy Young balloting last season, finishing with a 2.16 ERA and a 4.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 219 2/3 innings. While prognosticators don’t expect him to repeat the 2.16 ERA, he is still projected to be a solid contributor behind Felix Hernandez when he returns.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.