Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who finished third in the Cy Young voting last season, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a finger injury sustained while working out at home last month.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Iwakuma suffered a strained tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand. The good news is that it won’t require surgery. The bad news is that he’s at least three weeks from doing any throwing and his status for Opening Day–and perhaps much April–is very much in question.
Iwakuma was fantastic last season, throwing 220 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 185/42 K/BB ratio, and the Mariners have him under contract (cheaply) through 2015.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.