Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma’s left knee is still bruised and full of discomfort — enough that he will be bumped from his scheduled start Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Mariners manager Scott Servais said Sunday that Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo will move up on normal rest to start the two games against the Phillies.
Iwakuma tentatively is now slated to start Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Blue Jays.
In his outing last week against the Angels at Safeco Field, Iwakuma was hit by Andrelton Simmons’ line drive in the fifth inning. After being checked out by the team’s medical staff, he stayed in to complete the inning, but was pulled shortly thereafter.
Iwakuma played catch Saturday. Servais expects his veteran to next get on a mound and throw in Philadelphia.
“It is sore,” Servais said said of Iwakuma’s knee. “The smart thing to do with the off day (Monday) is to give him a couple more days.”
As far as Miranda’s hitting goes, the 28-year-old from Cuba has never had a major league at-bat. And Servais doesn’t want him to go crazy swinging for the fences.
“The key is to not hurt themselves,” Servais said. “With where we are at pitching-wise, we can’t absorb a whole lot more (injuries).
“That was all you are really looking for, can they execute a bunt? I am not looking for Miranda to bang a ball off the wall by accident, and the chances of that happening are very slim. Let’s keep things in context.”
Even though Dan Altavilla surrendered a solo home run to Mike Napoli in the ninth inning of Seattle’s 8-2 win over Texas on Saturday, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out two and did not walk a batter.
He is trying to get back on track after giving up three runs in appearances in a span of eight days — the last coming against Oakland on April 20.
Altavilla was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma the next day, and said he and Rainiers pitching coach Lance Painter noticed a couple of issues in his pitching motion.
“I developed a little arm sweep with my glove side, so (Painter) wanted me to keep my thumb up and closer to my body, just so we can get better direction off the mound,” Altvailla said. “It helps keep my leg under me … and that is when I get really good rotation.”
The former set-up reliever said he was encouraged by his outing Saturday.
“The ball was coming out better,” Altavilla said. “It is a big step from where I was when I got sent down.”
Pitcher Rob Whalen was sent back to the Rainiers (started Sunday), and reliever Shae Simmons (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room. ... Ace Felix Hernandez (shoulder) will not travel with the Mariners on the road, but is expected to start throwing Monday. … Reliever Steve Cishek (hip) will return to Tacoma for a couple of more rehab appearances while the Mariners are away.
It was 32 years ago — May 8, 1985 — when the Mariners had their best no-hit bid up to that date. Right-hander Matt Moore held Milwaukee hitless for eight innings before giving up a leadoff single to Robin Yount in the ninth. Seattle won, 4-2.
The Mariners will leave Sunday night for a 5 ½-hour flight to Philadelphia. They will begin a two-game series with the Phillies on Tuesday. Miranda (3-2, 3.55 ERA) will go for Seattle. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (0-3, 4.00) is expected to start for the Phillies.
First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. PDT, and the game can be seen on Root Sports, and heard on 710-AM and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers of MLB.tv).