Mariners activate Iwakuma to start opener

Mariners activate Iwakuma to start opener

SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was activated off the 15-day disabled list as expected in order to start Monday night's game against the Tigers at Safeco Field, with outfielder James Jones optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to open a 25-man roster spot.

Iwakuma has been sidelined since his third start of the season on April 20 when he strained the lat muscle behind his right shoulder. The 34-year-old made three Minor League rehab starts, one in Class A Everett (0-0, 2.45 ERA) and two in Tacoma (1-0, 0.93 ERA) in the past two weeks.

Iwakuma was 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in his first three starts of 2015 before going on the DL, but has been one of the American League's top right-handers the previous three seasons with a 37-19 record and 2.97 ERA in 77 starts.

Jones, 26, appeared in one game with Seattle after being recalled from Tacoma on Saturday. He started in center field in Sunday's 2-1 win in Oakland, going 0-for-4 while making an excellent sliding catch in the eighth inning to help preserve the win.

Jones is 0-for-12 in eight games over two stints with Seattle this season, but has hit .260 with 32 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 17 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 56 games with Tacoma.

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