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Mariners Noon Number: Hisashi Iwakuma finally on rehab assignment

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma looks out from the dugout after being removed during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on May 3, 2017, in Seattle. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since, but made a rehab appearance for High-A Modesto on Wednesday. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma looks out from the dugout after being removed during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on May 3, 2017, in Seattle. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since, but made a rehab appearance for High-A Modesto on Wednesday. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Seattle Mariners veteran starter Hisashi Iwakuma pitched four innings on Wednesday in a rehab assignment with Class High-A Modesto.

You might have missed Iwakuma’s return to the mound as he rehabs a sore shoulder if you were watching the M’s bouncing back to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4, or paying more attention to the MLB Draft the past couple of days.

But Iwakuma’s return could be big for the M’s down the road as they continue to insinuate themselves back into a chase for a wildcard spot, with the division all but sewn up already.

Iwakuma allowed just one hit and no walks over four innings with four strikeouts. He threw 43 pitches, 33 for strikes. According to reports he sat at 86-88 with his fastball and showed very little rust in his first time on the mound since being placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sore shoulder on May 7.

It’s encouraging since the last two times Iwakuma was scheduled to throw he had to cut the sessions short.

Iwakuma will make several more rehab starts to build up stamina and guard against re-injury but if all goes well he could rejoin the M’s rotation at or near the All-Star break.

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