Hisashi Iwakuma was quietly one of the steadiest starting pitchers in the American League in 2013. As the Seattle Mariners fight to stay relevant in the AL West in 2014, they are hoping that he can pick up right where he left off as he returns from injury on Saturday.
Iwakuma has not yet thrown a pitch this season due to a strained ligament in the middle finger of his pitching hand. If that sounds like a brutal injury for a pitcher to work back from that’s because it is. Through an interpreter, Iwakuma said the following about rehabbing and working his way back to return to the Seattle rotation (from MLB.com):
It wasn’t easy…I’ve never been in this kind of situation before, but at the same time you don’t want to lose your focus. I’m happy to be here and starting again.”
The Mariners will have to see how his finger responds before they decide how much of a workload he is prepared for in his first few starts of the season. Iwakuma is coming off a stellar season in which he went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 219.2 innings and 33 starts.