Kikuchi, who is scheduled to make his next start Sunday against the Blue Jays, could be temporarily dropped from the rotation the following week for rest purposes, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.

When the Mariners signed Kikuchi this offseason, the team's initial plans called for limiting the southpaw to an abbreviated outing around every 5-to-6 turns through the rotation in an effort to mimic his rest schedule from his time his Japan. Seattle hasn't been as committed to that plan in the second half, but with an off day next week and Felix Hernandez (lat) on track to rejoin the rotation, there should be an opportunity for Kikuchi to receive some maintenance. Along with Hernandez's impending return from the 60-day injured list, prospect Justus Sheffield is expected to be called up from Double-A Arkansas and receive some starts down the stretch. Those two arrivals could result in the Mariners rolling out a six-man rotation for the remainder of the season, which would afford Kikuchi an extra day of rest between his future outings.

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