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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma sidelined for 4-6 weeks with strained finger tendon

By on 2/13/2014 04:00:00 AM

The 2014 season is not starting well for the Seattle Mariners. On Wednesday evening, news emerged that starter Hisashi Iwakuma had strained a tendon in his middle finger during a bizarre training incident. MLB tweeted the news that he will not even be throwing for the next four to six weeks, making it unlikely that he'll be ready to start the season in the rotation.

 Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times explained that the incident actually happened on January 20th, when Iwakuma was playing catch and managed to get his finger caught in some netting when reaching back with his free hand after leaping to catch a high ball.

"I knew it was injured but I didn’t think it was a major thing," Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. "I rested it for about a week and then I started playing catch again – long toss as always. I thought it was good, but the pain didn’t go away."

According to Divish, Iwakuma wasn't diagnosed with the strained tendon until Monday, when he visited Dr Don Sheldon, a hand specialist, in Arizona. He'll go back for a follow-up in three weeks to see how the recovery is progressing. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said he expected the right-hander to be ready "early in the regular season."

By LiAnna Davis, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
Iwakuma was a revelation in 2013, finishing third in AL Cy Young voting after pitching 219 2/3 stellar innings with a 2.66 ERA, 1.006 WHIP and an elite 4.40 K/BB ratio. There's almost no way the Japanese star will get near that inning total now with the start of his season in jeopardy. Even if he was ready to start throwing in four weeks, that would leave him barely two to prepare himself for the start of the regular season. A six-week timeframe would mean he wouldn't even start throwing until just a few days before the Mariners' regular season opener on March 31st, when they take on the Angels in Anaheim.


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