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Hisashi Iwakuma to miss 4-6 weeks with shoulder inflammation

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Mariners’ right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to miss 4-6 weeks with right shoulder inflammation, per an official announcement by the team on Saturday. Iwakuma had been battling knee and shoulder pain over the last week and was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday (retroactive to May 7) after a preliminary evaluation revealed inflammation in his pitching shoulder. The diagnosis was confirmed on Friday by Dr. Ed Khalfayan.

It’s been a rough start to the season for the 36-year-old righty, who posted a 4.35 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 over his first 31 innings in Seattle. He’s coming off of some career-high numbers in 2016, during which he racked up a career-best 16 wins and a career-worst 4.12 ERA and 6.6 SO/9 rate through 199 innings. This is the first significant injury he’s seen since 2015, when he missed the first half of the season with a strained lat muscle.

The Mariners look significantly worse for wear after losing over half of their 2017 rotation to various injuries. James Paxton (left forearm strain) is scheduled to return to the rotation sometime in the next week or two, though it stands to reason that the club would take things slowly with one of their best pitchers. Felix Hernandez (right shoulder inflammation) and Drew Smyly (left flexor strain) are working with longer timetables for recovery, and neither are likely to see the mound before June. In the meantime, the Mariners will roll with right-hander Ryan Weber, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to make his season debut against the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”