Iwakuma throws two scoreless frames in final spring tuneup

Iwakuma throws two scoreless frames in final spring tuneup

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma kept things brief in his final spring tuneup before the regular season, throwing two scoreless innings against the Padres' Triple-A club on Thursday night at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Iwakuma, 33, allowed one hit with no walks and four strikeouts, facing seven batters in the abbreviated start. He threw 32 pitches, including 21 strikes, before shutting it down for the spring.

Manager Lloyd McClendon hasn't announced his rotation beyond Opening Day starter Felix Hernandez, but if Seattle's starters stay in their current order, Iwakuma is lined up for the third game, on April 8 against the Angels.

Iwakuma could still move up a day and pitch the second game of the season in five days if McClendon wants to move him ahead of left-hander James Paxton, who has struggled at times this spring.

Iwakuma missed all of last spring and the first month of the regular season with a torn finger tendon, then went 15-9 with a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts. This spring he's been healthy from the start and posted a 3.27 ERA over 11 innings in three Cactus League starts, and also pitched seven innings in a pair of Minor League outings.

The Mariners were off on Thursday, but Iwakuma pitched in the Minor League game to stay on his normal schedule.

Seattle closes out its spring schedule with J.A. Happ starting Friday's 7:05 p.m. PT game against the Rockies in Peoria and Taijuan Walker getting the ball for Saturday's 12:05 p.m. finale against the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.