The spring’s most-anticipated game of catch took place Monday when Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma tested his recovery from a strained ligament in his middle finger by making lights throws with a baseball for about six minutes.
“It felt good; the ball felt great going out of the finger,” Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “I look forward to making progress from here on.
Iwakuma played catch from distances ranging up to 45 feet. He did so with tape on his middle finger for protection. The game of catch followed three days of throwing a tennis ball.
“It’s getting better day by day,” he said, “but (the finger) is still stiff. I don’t have that (full) range of motion yet. I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s getting there. Slowly but gradually.”
Plans call for Iwakuma to throw every day from increasing distances and with greater intensity. He is scheduled to keep tape on his finger for one week. If all goes well, he could rejoin the rotation in mid-to-late April.