Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma: Big-league return in '18 unlikely

Iwakuma (shoulder) is still considered a long shot to pitch in a major-league game in 2018 according to manager Scott Servais, David Gottlieb of MLB.com reports. "He'd love to get in a game at some point, but we really haven't talked about it," Servais said. "I think he felt OK and his stuff was just OK. It's been a long time since he's pitched, so the expectations need to be realistic."

Even if he never dons the Mariners uniform during what remains of the regular season, Iwakuma has seemingly made substantial progress by getting back into game action after a year-plus layoff. The veteran right-hander has managed to make three rehab starts for short-season Everett, offering mixed results. It remains to be seen whether Iwakuma will try to resume his major-league quest again next spring, with the prospect of further strengthening his surgically repaired shoulder over the offseason certainly a factor working in his favor.

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