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The Cactus League juggernaut that is the Seattle Mariners continued to roll on Friday at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners banged out 18 hits with homers from Nick Franklin, Nate Tenbrink and James Jones to prevail 12-1.
But the real news came postgame as the Mariners starting rotation received another bit of bad news. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma met with hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan today in Scottsdale. Sheridan was pleased with the progress of Iwakuma’s recovery from a strained tendon on his middle finger. However, he recommended that Iwakuma continue to wear the splint on the finger for three more weeks before resuming a throwing program.
This isn’t technically a setback. Iwakuma was supposed to wear the splint for 4-to-6 weeks according to the original prognosis. He’s had the splint on for three weeks now. There was some hope that Iwakuma might be able to start throwing sooner than expected. It doesn’t appear that will happen.
With Iwakuma not able to throw for three more weeks, there is little if any chance that he’ll be ready by opening day. It seems likely that he wouldn’t be ready to return to the rotation until a few weeks into the season.
This means that the Mariners really have some questions about the makeup of their starting rotation.
One of the likely members of that rotation – James Paxton – was solid in the start today. He threw two hitless innings, striking out one. Paxton threw mostly fastballs, and hit 94 mph. Of his 19 pitches, 13 were strikes. He’s said often that fastball command is his biggest key. He had decent command today
For the game, Mariners pitchers allowed five hits – just one extra base hit – and struck out 10. Carson Smith looked sharp, striking out the side in the eighth inning.
Nick Franklin had a solid day. He singled off of hard-throwing Padres starter Andrew Cashner and then ripped a solo homer to right field to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
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Seattle broke the game open in the sixth inning. Corey Hart led off the inning with a single and later Xavier Avery and Jesus Sucre added RBI singles, while Nate Tenbrink slammed a two-run homer to right-center
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James Jones had big day, ripping a three-run homer to left-center off of Leonel Campos in the eighth inning and adding an RBI single in the ninth.
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