Jackson could see quick return; Iwakuma 'a ways away'

McClendon says center fielder's injured ankle 'remarkably better'

Jackson could see quick return; Iwakuma 'a ways away'

SEATTLE -- Austin Jackson could be back in the Mariners' lineup and in center field soon after his disabled list stint is up, but it could be a while still before starter Hisashi Iwakuma rejoins the rotation.

That was the latest update on the two injured players from manager Lloyd McClendon as the team got back to work at Safeco Field on Friday after a 10-game road trip and an off-day.

The good news about Jackson, who sprained his right ankle in last Sunday's loss to the Astros in Houston, is that he should be healthy soon and ready to get at-bats in the Minors when he comes off the DL.

"It got remarkably better," McClendon said of Jackson's ankle. "The swelling went down quite a bit. There's still a little stiffness and some soreness. It was the right thing to do to DL him. We don't want this thing to linger. He's coming along just fine."

Jackson's leaping catch

Meanwhile, Iwakuma, who is recovering from the lat strain he suffered on April 21, played catch again Friday but still hasn't thrown off a mound, so he could still be a month away.

"He's feeling good," McClendon said. "A little stiff the other day when he first started, but he's feeling good. He's getting stronger. I would say he's probably still two or three weeks from going out [on a rehab assignment] and then he's got to go out a couple of times. So he's still a ways away."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.