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Mariners notebook: Iwakuma says he’s ready

Post by Bob Dutton / The News Tribune on April 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm with No Comments »
April 29, 2014 3:22 pm

NEW YORK — Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma threw a bullpen workout prior to Tuesday’s game, which could be the final step before he returns Friday to the rotation for the start of a three-game weekend series in Houston.

For now, though, manager Lloyd McClendon continues to hedge, saying only: “He’ll pitch somewhere Friday. I’m not sure where yet.”

Iwakuma, 33, threw 83 pitches over four innings Sunday in a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma at Las Vegas, which marked his first game action since being diagnosed in February with a strained ligament in his middle finger.

The numbers weren’t great: three runs (two earned) and six hits, and Iwakuma characterized his command as only “so-so,’ but he reported no problems with his finger.

“It was my first game in a long time,” he said through an interpreter. “I was trying to get the feel back for the game. I’ll need some more time, but it’s going to be there.”

Iwakuma said he’s ready to pitch Friday but hasn’t been told anything yet.


Lineup moves

Left fielder Dustin Ackley and shortstop Brad Miller opened Tuesday’s game on the bench because McClendon opted for right-handed bats (Stefen Romero and Willie Bloomquist) against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.

“It goes us pretty good balance,” McClendon said. “I like to balance left-right as much as I can. As far as Willie playing short, I did not want to put Miller back in the lineup against CC.

“Giving Ack a breather against a tough lefty, also. He’s my left fielder, and he’ll play. Just not today.”

Miller and Ackley are also struggling. Miller is batting .138 (8-for-58) over his last 16 games; Ackley is 1-for-18 over his previous seven games.


Minor moves

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, as expected, was transferred to Triple-A Tacoma after one start at Hi-A High Desert. He was optioned to High Desert after going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five big-league starts.

It wasn’t necessarily an earned promotion to Tacoma: He allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings last Sunday in a 6-1 loss at Stockton.

The Mariners sent Ramirez to High Desert because his regular work day feel on the same day as Hisashi Iwakuma’s scheduled rehab start.

It was one in a series of moves.

The Mariners released veteran reliever Ramon Ramirez, who allowed five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings over four appearances at Tacoma.

Right-hander Seon Gi Kim was transferred from extended spring training to High Desert; right-hander Mark Bordonaro from High Desert to Lo-A Clinton; and right-hander Thyago Vieira from extended spring to Clinton.

Short hops

Outfielder/designated hitter Logan Morrison isn’t with the club. He is still battling a strained right hamstring that surfaced prior to an April 14 game at Texas…Kyle Seager’s five homers in a four-game stretch (entering Tuesday) matches a Mariners’ record. The last player to do it was Alex Rodriguez in July 1999…Robinson Cano is still the all-time leader at the new Yankee Stadium (opened 2009) in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and RBIs…Ex-Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan is playing at Hi-A Tampa in the Yankees’ system on a rehab assignment while recovering from a cervical spine nerve injury.


Minor details

The Mariners continue to list High Desert third baseman D.J. Peterson as “day to day” in his recovery from hamstring tightness. They haven’t placed him the seven-day disabled list.

Peterson, 22, suffered the injury April 21 in a 14-9 victory over Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers).

He was the club’s top pick in the 2013 draft and is generally regarded its top non-pitching prospect. He was batting .290 with one homers and 11 RBIs in 17 games for the Mavericks.


Looking back

It was two years ago Wednesday — April 30, 2012 — that the Mariners achieved a franchise first when two catchers hit homers in the same game.

Miguel Olivo was the starting catcher and gave the M’s a 1-0 lead with a homer in the second inning against Jeremy Hellickson at Tampa Bay.

Olivo played until the ninth when he exited after suffering a strained right groin while fielding a ball in front of the plate. Jesus Montero, who had been the DH, shifted to catcher, and the Mariners lost use of the DH.

Montero opened the 11th inning with a homer against Wade Davis for a 2-1 lead. But the Mariners couldn’t hold it. Brandon League gave up RBI singles in the 11th and 12th innings in a 3-2 loss.


Bonus looking back

It was 75 years ago Tuesday — April 30, 1939 — that Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig played in the last game of his 2,130-game streak, which stood as the major-league record until Cal Ripken broke it.

Gehrig went 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss to Washington at the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had a open date on May 1, and Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy not to play in a May 2 game at Detroit.

Gehrig never played again.

On tap

Weather permitting — and it doesn’t look good — the Mariners continue their three-game series against New York at 4:05 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Lefty Roenis Elias (1-2 with a 3.54 ERA) will face Yankees right-hander David Phelps (0-0 and 3.86).

Phelps has made nine relief appearances but is getting a spot start while ex-Mariner Michael Pineda serves a suspension for using pine-tar while pitching.

Root Sports will carry the game.


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