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February 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hisashi Iwakuma throws first bullpen session

ADDITIONAL NOTE 10:10 a.m.: For those wondering, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has signed with the Oakland Athletics for four years, $36 million. So, Mariners fans hoping to see him in the season opener will sort of get their wish, just not playing for the Blue and Teal.
Hisashi Iwakuma had the cameras whirring and the flashbulbs popping as he stepped into the bullpen moments ago and threw for the first time in camp. To say it was a bit of a sideshow would be understating it.
Iwakuma got through the roughly five-minute session, then spoke briefly to pitching coach Carl Willis through his interpreter.
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For those wondering why Iwakuma won’t be pitching one of the regular season games in Japan, this just gave a brief indicator.


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Never mind the fact that Jason Vargas has more big league experience. Iwakuma will be nervous enough when he has to make his major league debut in a game that counts. He’d be carrying the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders if he had to go out and do it in his own backyard.
It would be like pitching the seventh game of a World Series. In your big league debut.
Not going to happen. This was a routine first bullpen session of camp. The scrutiny on Iwakuma when he gets back to Japan with the ball club will be overwhelming. He’ll probably pitch in one of the two exhibition games and emotions in those should be running high.
But the Mariners don’t exactly have wins to give away this year. They are not about to do that at the very beginning of the 2012 season by throwing a guy into the most pressure packed of situations for his debut.

Comments | Topics: Hisashi Iwakuma

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