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July 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Hisashi Iwakuma returns to Japan for personal reasons, but Mariners expect him to make next start

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Well, this was certainly a bit of a surprise. Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who took a no-decision yesterday in a five-inning performance, has left the team temporarily and flown home to Japan for “personal reasons” that have not been disclosed.
Iwakuma’s immediate family — including his wife and two children — live here in the Seattle area with him. But his extended family is back in Japan.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said this afternoon that Iwakuma should make his next start, this coming Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, Iwakuma is expected back in Seattle on Saturday. Talk about a quick turnaround.
Wedge, as we mentioned, will go with four sub-.200 hitters in tonight’s lineup as well as with a .220-hitter in Dustin Ackley, who is 1-for-25 the past week and hitless in his last 20 at-bats.
“I talked to him yesterday,” Wedge said. “The last two or three days, I like the way he’s swung the bat.”


Wedge went into more detail on that.
“He’s had some tough luck,” Wedge said. “He’s hit some balls hard. Guys have made some good plays on him. He’s just missed a few balls too. Sometimes, with those pop-ups, they look like a pop-up but if it’s a good swing and you’re just catching the bottom part of the ball, then you’re just that far away from squaring it up.
“So, I just want him to hang in there mentally,” he added. “Just stay strong mentally and trust the approach.”
In other news, the Mariners have added “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis to their player development staff as a roving minor league instructor. Davis — a former AL Rookie of the Year — was the first Mariner inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1997 after playing for the M’s from 1984 to 1991.
“I am really excited to add Alvin to our player development staff,” Mariners director of player development Chris Gwynn said in a release. “His knowledge, intellect and teaching ability will help our young players as they progress through our system.”

Comments | Topics: Hisashi Iwakuma

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