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Mariners sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league deal

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The Mariners just announced that they have signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league deal.

Iwakuma became a free agent earlier this month after the Mariners, not surprisingly, declined his $10 million option for 2018 after he made only six starts in 2017, posting a 4.35 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 over 31 innings. That was primarily injury-related, however, as he went on the disabled list in May and never returned to action, undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery in September.

Iwakuma, who turns 37 early next season, hopes to be recovered fully by spring training. Given the Mariners’ thin pitching staff, he stands at least a decent chance of making the team.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Score and Highlight

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Yeah, singular. Other than those ESPN Sunday Night games that opened the season for several years until recently I can’t remember a regular season day or night with only one game scheduled. I also don’t much like it, but no one asks me these things.

Cubs 9, Cardinals 6: The Cardinals led 3-1 heading into the Cubs’ half of the fifth, at which point Chicago went off for five runs, with Ian Happ hitting a two run homer and Jason Heyward, Antony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist each knocking in a run. St. Louis would continue to score but each time they did the Cubs answered, never trailing again.

Heyward had three hits on the night, Happ had that dinger, Rizzo had two doubles and Victor Caratini, giving the just-returned All-Star Willson Contreras an extra day off, had three hits and scored three times.

As for pitching, check out this usage pattern from Joe Maddon:

I guess everyone was fresh after the break, though, so why not?

We get a full slate of 15 games today. As God and Nature intended.