Iwakuma has signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants for the 2019 season, the Kyodo News reports.
Iwakuma pitched in the minors in the Seattle organization last season as he worked his way back from September 2017 shoulder surgery. Turning 37 during the 2019 season, he seems unlikely to return to MLB down the road. Iwakuma previously played in Japan for the Kintetsu Buffaloes (now Orix Buffaloes) and Rakuten Eagles.
Iwakuma (shoulder) will attempt to play in Japan in 2019, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Iwakuma has been sidelined all season while recovering from a shoulder injury. Given his age (37) and recent injury history, this likely signals the end of Iwakuma's major-league career. The veteran right-hander posted a respectable 3.42 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 63-39 record across parts of six big-league seasons with the Mariners, highlighted by a 2013 All-Star appearance.
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.
Iwakuma (shoulder) was charged with the loss in short-season Everett's defeat at the hands of Spokane on Wednesday, allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks over two innings. He recorded one strikeout.
On the bright side, Iwakuma got some work in, laboring through 47 pitches. While that was a good test for his surgically repaired shoulder, how he ended up with that robust of a workload was problematic. Iwakuma struggled with control throughout the appearance and gave up some hard hits as well, surrendering a pair of two-baggers during his two frames. It's difficult to gauge how this outing affects the Mariners' outlook on Iwakuma for what remains of the regular season, but at least his shoulder appears to finally be showing signs of bouncing back.
Iwakuma (shoulder) tossed two scoreless innings in short-season Everett's loss to Vancouver on Friday, walking one and striking out two.
Iwakuma's hopes of pitching some big-league innings in 2018 remain alive following a second consecutive encouraging outing, one in which he worked up to a modest 20 pitches. Naturally, the level of competition is far from what he would face at the major-league level, but the fact his surgically repaired shoulder seems to be holding up well thus far is the most important takeaway from his first pair of minor-league outings. Iwakuma has now pitched three innings overall with Everett, and he could potentially be bumped up to a higher level in the organization for his next rehab appearance.
Iwakuma (shoulder) allowed an earned run on two hits over one inning in short-season Everett's win over Hillsboro on Sunday.
The outing marked Iwakuma's first time back in game action since June 2017. The veteran right-hander's recovery from September 2017 surgery has endured a series of fits and starts, but he's consistently been trending in the right direction for some time, culminating in Sunday's appearance. Given the relatively short time remaining in the regular season -- as well as the fact Iwakuma faces multiple rehab appearances before activation can be seriously contemplated -- his chances of making it to the big-league roster this season appear minimal. However, manager Scott Servais hasn't ruled out the possibility, Jake Rill of MLB.com reports, commenting Sunday that he'd have "a better indication" after Sunday's appearance whether Iwakuma could still possibly help the Mariners this season.
Iwakuma (shoulder) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and a 20-pitch live batting practice session Tuesday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
The live BP came against Ichiro Suzuki, and coupled with the work Iwakuma put in during his bullpen, it represented the veteran's heftiest workload in quite some time. Iwakuma, who's on a minor-league contract and has been rehabbing his shoulder all season, continues to hold out hope for a 2018 return despite the increasingly slim chance for such a development.
Iwakuma (shoulder) tossed live batting practice Monday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
This marks the first time Iwakuma has managed to pitch against live hitters since undergoing right shoulder surgery last September. If he feels good following his latest throwing session, expect him to begin a rehabilitation assignment in the near future. A concrete timetable for Iwakuma's return is yet to be established.
Iwakuma (shoulder) played catch Saturday, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
Iwakuma hasn't pitched yet this season after suffering multiple setbacks while recovering from September shoulder surgery. He's now resumed his throwing program, though it's very difficult to say when he'll be finally able to return to game action given how rocky his recovery has been.
Updating a previous report, Iwakuma (shoulder) met with Dr. Keith Meister this past week and has been cleared to resume throwing again in a "few more days," according to manager Scott Servais, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Meister is the Dallas-based physician that performed Iwakuma's initial shoulder surgery, and he apparently feels all the veteran right-hander needs is a few days of rest to overcome the setback he recently experienced while throwing live batting practice. Iwakuma has been rehabbing at the Mariners' extended spring training facility in Arizona.
Iwakuma (shoulder) has been shut down once again and will be examined by doctors to determine the next step in his rehabilitation, but a return in 2018 is seeming unlikely, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Iwakuma's return has already been dragged out, as neck stiffness slowed him down at a couple different steps. Given this setback, the time necessary to get Iwakuma throwing again, then through a rehab assignment and finally back to the major leagues may be too long even if doctors don't find any new damage in his shoulder. Considering Iwakuma has made just six starts since 2017, the 36-year-old's career may be reaching its end.
Iwakuma (shoulder) threw 25 pitches of live batting practice Friday at the Mariners' spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz. and will throw another bullpen session in the next day or two, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Iwakuma has made seemingly steady progress since the calendar flipped to June, throwing an extended bullpen session last Sunday after getting over a bout of neck stiffness and then facing live hitters Friday. Assuming there are no residual effects from that workload, the veteran right-hander appears ready to test his surgically repaired shoulder further early this week.
Iwakuma (shoulder) is expected to face live hitters during batting practice at some point this week, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Iwakuma's rehab from late-September shoulder surgery was recently slowed by a bout of neck stiffness, but the latter injury is no longer a concern after he completed an extended bullpen session Saturday without incident. The right-hander is now ready to take another step forward in his recovery by facing hitters, which could set the stage for Iwakuma to head out on a rehab assignment at some point later this month. If he incurs no serious setbacks in the weeks to come, Iwakuma could be a rotation option for the Mariners at some point in the second half.
Iwakuma (shoulder, neck) threw an extended bullpen session before Saturday's game, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
The veteran right-hander has been dealing with some neck stiffness in addition to his shoulder issues recently, which pushed back his scheduled throwing sessions on a couple of occasions during the week. Iwakuma could finally begin a minor-league rehab assignment in the coming days if he continues to progress without further issues, and it's likely he'll need multiple outings after last having seen major-league game action on May 3, 2017.
Manager Scott Servais said Iwakuma (shoulder, neck) will throw live batting practice Thursday, TJ Cotterill of The Tacoma News Tribune reports.
Iwakuma is still dealing with some neck stiffness, so he'll wait another day before facing live hitters. If Thursday's live batting practice session goes off without a hitch, Iwakuma could progress to a minor-league rehab assignment within the coming weeks.
Iwakuma (shoulder) will throw live batting practice Wednesday, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
Iwakuma was originally scheduled to face live hitters Tuesday, but the session was apparently pushed back by a day after he experienced some neck stiffness. Assuming everything goes off without a hitch during Wednesday's live batting practice session, the veteran could be cleared to head out on a rehab assignment in the coming weeks.
Iwakuma (shoulder) threw well in his bullpen session Friday and is scheduled to face live hitters Tuesday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
It sounds like he is nearing a rehab assignment, but first he will need to get through Tuesday's session without any setbacks. He could be pitching in minor-league games in early June.
Iwakuma (shoulder), who played long toss before Friday's game, will throw a bullpen session Sunday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
It's another small step for the rehabbing Iwakuma, who continues to build his endurance up after a setback during an April 28 simulated game. His status is likely to be updated early next week after the Mariners determine how well his shoulder responded to Sunday's workload.
Iwakuma (shoulder) threw long toss at Safeco Field before Friday's game, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
The veteran right-hander continues his recovery process from September 2017 arthroscopic right shoulder surgery. Iwakuma has now been back on a throwing program since May 5 after having suffered a setback during an April 28 simulated game. It remains to be seen when the Mariners will deem Iwakuma ready to start a minor-league rehab assignment, but there's been no concrete indication that he's approaching that stage yet.
Iwakuma (shoulder) played catch Wednesday and will throw a live batting practice in Peoria, Arizona on Friday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
Iwakuma's rehab process has endured some interruptions, although it appears to be back on an upswing for the time being. The veteran right-hander had suffered a setback during a simulated game April 28, but he's been progressively working his strength back up since the calendar flipped to May. If all goes well with Friday's live throwing session, Iwakuma could progress to either a simulated game situation or a minor-league rehab outing in relatively short order.
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