Feb 13, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma during team workouts at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma cleared to throw

It may take a while, but the Mariners’ rotation is slowly piecing itself back together.

With the options behind King Felix not looking too promising, the Mariners received some good news as Hisashi Iwakuma has been cleared to begin a throwing program. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune says that Iwakuma will begin playing catch on Monday.

Iwakuma and club officials hedged when pressed for a target date for his return to the rotation, although non-club personnel suggest it’s likely to take roughly a month. …Iwakuma will continue to wear a protective splint on the finger during workouts over the next few days as a precaution. Other than that, he will only wear it when sleeping.

Iwakuma suffered a strained tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand shortly after pitchers and catchers reported and will miss the start of the season. His absence creates a big hole that was made even bigger when projected number three starter Taijuan Walker went down with a shoulder bursitis.

Last season, Iwakuma had an under-the-radar excellent season. He pitched to a 14-6 record with a 2.66 ERA over 33 starts, pitching in 219.2 innings. He also finished third in the AL Cy Young voting behind Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer.

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Tags: Seattle Mariners