Iwakuma finally makes debut

The Sports Xchange

It took a long time for Hisashi Iwakuma to realize his dream of playing a game in the major leagues.

The right-handed pitcher made the Seattle roster to start the season, but not as a starter, which had been his steady job in a decade-long career in Japan.

He was named the long man in the bullpen, and for the first 14 games of the season, the Mariners didn't need a long man. They needed one in Game 15, however, with starter Hector Noesi getting just four outs while giving up six runs.

Iwakuma took over to start the sixth inning and allowed just two base runners in his four innings, a walk to Gordon Beckham to open the seventh and a homer to right to Adam Dunn to start the eighth. The A's wound up falling 7-3 to the White Sox.

"It wasn't frustrating to wait," Iwakuma, the eighth Japanese-born player to suit up for Seattle, said through an interpreter. "There is a lot I can learn from sitting and seeing the games. But I was glad to be out there and pitching."

Manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis had been saying all along they wanted to find a soft landing for Iwakuma's debut, both because he was coming from Japan and because he had never pitched as the long man before.

Based on his performance, it isn't likely to be 15 games before he makes a second appearance.

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