Don’t call it a setback, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters.
At least, not yet.
But the report from Hisashi Iwakuma’s latest simulated start was not positive.
Iwakuma threw against live batters in Seattle on Saturday and lasted about seven or eight pitches, Servais said, before he shut it down because his arm didn’t feel right.
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Iwakuma last threw off a major league mound more than a year ago now before he landed on the disabled list. He eventually had offseason shoulder debridement surgery.
“He warmed up and got out there and he shut it down early,” Servais said Sunday. “I don’t know if it’s a setback or how severe it is. He didn’t feel right and we thought it was best to shut it down and give him a little time.”
All reports since spring training had returned nothing but positive signs from Iwakuma’s recovery. Servais and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. boasted that they thought Iwakuma, the former American League All-Star who once threw a no-hitter, was going to be their secret weapon at some point this season.
Servais indicated that those plans haven’t changed. They’ve been slow with his rehab. Iwakuma recently turned 37 years old.
“Early thoughts – it might be a little tendinitis going on in there,” Servais said. “I don’t want to read too much into it. He’s still in the early stages and that’s why building him up is going to take a little bit more time.
“But that was the one little negative out of yesterday’s report.”
He said Iwakuma had been throwing just about every day in his recovery.
“That’s how he’s wired,” Servais said. “And I know a lot of Japanese players are wired that way, as well. But probably need to slow him down, shut it down for a couple of days and let him calm down.
“Kuma is off the chart in his work ethic and how he goes about it. You are disappointed any time anybody has a setback, especially for him, though, with all the time and energy and effort he’s put in to trying to get back. I think it’s just off the road from where he wants to be, but he’ll get back on and I feel confident in that.”
The Mariners take Monday off while traveling from Cleveland back to Seattle for six games.
They get back at it at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics for a three-game series before facing the Los Angeles Angels for the first time for a three-game series after that.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.96 ERA) starts against a potent A’s lineup, while Oakland sends out RHP Andrew Triggs (2-0, 4.70 ERA). The game will televise on Root Sports and broadcast on 710-AM radio.