Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said Saturday it would be “hard pressed” for either Hisashi Iwakuma or Taijuan Walker to be in the Mariners’ rotation on opening day because of their injury setbacks during spring training.
McClendon said the injuries to Iwakuma (finger) and Walker (shoulder) will open up chances for others in camp, but also leave a rotation that had questions entering spring training even more uncertain.
“I always plan for the worst and our contingency plan has been that,” McClendon said. “So like I said before this gives other guys opportunities to go out and see what they can do. We’ll see what happens.”
Iwakuma will have his right middle finger in a splint for another three weeks before throwing, while Walker is being shut down for a week because of inflammation in his right shoulder.
By the time the duo make up for missed time on the mound it will be early- to mid-April before either is expected in a game.
While Seattle is understandably cautious with the sore shoulder of the 21-year-old Walker because of his age, the finger injury has become frustrating for Iwakuma. When he went to see Dr. Don Sheridan on Friday, Iwakuma had the expectation that he could start throwing on Saturday.
Instead, he was told to avoid throwing for three more weeks. The earliest Iwakuma is expected to pick up a ball is March 21.
By the time he gets caught up on bullpen sessions and simulated games to get the needed innings to be ready for the season, it’ll likely be mid-April before he could join the Mariners rotation.
Cano leads M’s win
Robinson Cano got two hits and made a pair of smooth plays in the field as the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-3 on Saturday in Peoria, Ariz., in a game shortened to seven innings because of rain.
Cano struck out in the first inning against C.J. Wilson. The Seattle newcomer hit an RBI single in the third and later scored on Dustin Ackley’s RBI double.
Cano was sharp at second base, making a charging grab and flip to get Ian Stewart in the first. This was Cano’s second game for the Mariners – in his debut, he singled on the first pitch he saw.
Scott Baker threw two scoreless innings to start his bid for a spot in Seattle’s rotation. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one in his first start of the spring as Seattle improved to 3-0 in Cactus League play.
Tanaka’s debut success
Masahiro Tanaka threw two scoreless innings, striking out three and giving up a pair of singles in the Yankees’ 4-0 victory over the Phillies in Tampa, Fla.
Tanaka signed a $155 million, seven-year contract in January.