Hisashi Iwakuma nearing return to the Mariners

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Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week as he comes back from a spring training finger injury, but instead the team had him throw a 58-pitch simulated game yesterday.

Iwakuma told reporters afterward that he felt very good during Tuesday’s simulated game, saying “the ball jumped out of my hand pretty well” and “I feel pretty close now to the regular season.”

Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that Iwakuma will likely make a rehab start Sunday at Triple-A, at which point he could be cleared to come off the disabled list and rejoin the rotation next week.

Seattle is waiting for Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, and James Paxton to get healthy and join Felix Hernandez in what has the potential to be an excellent, high-upside rotation.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.