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Hisashi Iwakuma likely to start Saturday for Mariners

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Why is this man smiling? He's close to returning to the Seattle rotation. (USATSI)
Why is this man smiling? He's close to returning to the Seattle rotation. (USATSI)

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Here's some good news for the fourth-place Mariners: the return of right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is near. MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets that Iwakuma will start Saturday against the Astros. Iwakuma has been sidelined since spring training with a finger strain.

The 33-year-old right-hander is coming off an excellent 2013, in which he logged an ERA of 2.66 (140 ERA+) and a K/BB ratio of 4.40 in 219 2/3 innings of work. For his troubles, he finished third in the AL Cy Young balloting. Across parts of two MLB seasons, Iwakuma owns an ERA+ of 132.

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