When we last heard from Seattle Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma, there was real concern that he would miss the start of the 2014 season with a finger injury. However, the original timetable for his return would have placed him back in the rotation by early April, and there was little in the way of full-scale panic surrounding his status. On Friday, though, there was a report that can easily be seen as a setback.
Update on Iwakuma: He won’t begin throwing for three more weeks.
— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) February 28, 2014
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune indicates that the soon to be 33-year-old starting pitcher won’t even begin his throwing program until late March, and with that information, there is no reasonable assumption that would place Iwakuma back in the rotation until late April. Iwakuma was easily the 2nd-best pitcher on the Mariners staff last season (behind Felix Hernandez), and his 2.66 ERA over 219.2 innings represented one of the better marks in all of baseball.
It isn’t a disaster scenario for the player or the team, but with the news that prized prospect Taijuan Walker has been shut down, the once-deep Seattle rotation is suddenly looking shaky at best as the season approaches.