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Hisashi Iwakuma (finger strain) still three weeks from throwing

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The Mariners will be without their co-ace to start the season.
The Mariners will be without their co-ace to start the season. (USATSI)

MORE: Spring Training | Scoreboard | FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

The Mariners have not had much luck with injuries so far this spring. Earlier on Friday we learned top prospect Taijuan Walker will be shut down for a week with a shoulder problem, and now Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports Hisashi Iwakuma is still three weeks from throwing due to a finger problem.

Iwakuma, 32, suffered a strained tendon in his right middle finger very early in camp. The initial timetable was 4-6 weeks, and since he got hurt two and a half weeks ago, he's looking at the upper end of that range. Since he can't start throwing for another three weeks, it's all but guaranteed Iwakuma will start the regular season on the DL.

In 33 starts and 219 2/3 innings last year, Iwakuma went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA (138 ERA+) and 1.01 WHIP. He led all AL pitchers with 7.0 WAR and finished third in the Cy Young voting behind Max Scherzer and Yu Darvish.

With Iwakuma and Walker sidelined, the Mariners figure to open the season with Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, James Paxton and Scott Baker in the rotation.

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