Iwakuma allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings of work during the outing. The long ball was Iwakuma's undoing. He surrendered home runs to Nick Castellanos, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes. He also struck out three and did not walk a batter. His ERA is now 7.17.
Iwakuma (0-2) has not received a quality start in any of his four starts this season.
Iwakuma went 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in three starts earlier this season before being placed on the DL in April with a strained back muscle.
To make room for Iwakuma, the team option outfielder
"That's why we brought him back," Lloyd McLendon told the Tacoma News-Tribune. "I said he's not coming back until he's able to get up and down seven times. He's ready to go."
Whether he will perform significantly better than he did before going down with a strained back muscle is another matter. But McLendon is optimistic based on his velocity.
"He's back up to 91 (mph), which is a good thing," he added. "That makes his split better. He can't pitch at 86 and expect to have some deception on his split."
Iwakuma returns with an 0-1 record and 6.61 ERA, a far cry from his performance over the past three seasons, when he posted a combined 3.07 ERA.
Iwakuma made three starts before landing on the DL, going 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA.
Iwakuma has gone 1-0 with an 0.93 ERA in two Tacoma starts and also gave up just one run in 3 2/3 innings in an initial start with Class A Everett.
"He did OK. It was better than the last outing," manager Lloyd McClendon said of Iwakuma's start on Tuesday, when he allowed just one run with six strikeouts. "The velocity got better each outing. I know he touched 91 last night, and that's a good sign. He's moving in the right direction."
Iwakuma did suffer a blister on his throwing hand on Tuesday, but that's a common issue he regularly deals with because of the pressure he puts when he throws split-finger fastball. McClendon, though, will take that minor setback into account.
"That certainly will be part of the evaluation, and then we'll go from there," McClendon said. "I don't want anybody pitching around anything. We need him 100 percent, and hopefully he will be 100 percent."
The Mariners could potentially experiment with a six-man rotation if they can't identify an odd-man out before Iwakuma's return.
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