Hisashi Iwakuma leaves Mariners and travels to Japan for “personal reasons”

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Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has left the team and traveled back to Japan for undisclosed “personal reasons.”

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Iwakuma is expected to rejoin the team in time to make his next scheduled start, which is Monday against the Blue Jays, and might even be back in the United States as soon as Saturday.

Iwakuma was an afterthought for the Mariners’ pitching staff early on this season, often going long stretches without being used, but he eventually got an opportunity for a regular role and has thrown 51 innings with a 4.56 ERA split between the rotation and bullpen.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.