Iwakuma 'ready to go' after Minor League start

Right-hander expected to throw one more time before Opening Day

Iwakuma 'ready to go' after Minor League start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma threw 81 pitches in a six-inning outing against the Rockies' Triple-A club on Saturday, getting his work in on a practice field at the Mariners complex while most of his teammates were beating the Dodgers, 7-6, in a Cactus League game at the adjacent Peoria Stadium.

Iwakuma allowed six hits and five runs, though only two were earned, with no walks and six strikeouts.

Four infield errors made Iwakuma's day a little rockier than necessary, but he was most interested in building his arm up and preparing for the season.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"I got up six times and reached my pitch count, which is what I had in mind more than anything today," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "I felt good. I probably could have gone another inning, but the limit was 85 pitches. I feel like I'm ready to go now."

Iwakuma will throw another Minor League game on Thursday, which is the Mariners' off-day next week, then be lined up for his regular-season debut in the second game of the opening series April 5 in Texas.

"It's a different scenery, obviously," Iwakuma said. "It's a different feel, a different field. But you have to keep in mind that you need to concentrate and get hitters out and get your work in. That's all I had in mind and that's all I will have in mind in my next start on the backfield."

Outlook: Iwakuma, SP, SEA

Worth noting

• A roster move appears imminent with first baseman Jesus Montero, whose locker was cleared out after he left the Major League facility. But the club said it had no announcement coming Saturday on the 26-year-old, who is out of Minor League options and would have to clear waivers in order to remain in the organization if he was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma.

• Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush said he's "in a holding pattern" waiting for the doctor's plans on when to resume throwing after being held back the last few days due to continuing tightness in the deltoid area of his shoulder.

Furbush hasn't thrown in a game since going on the disabled list July 9 with a slight rotator cuff tear and he'll open this season on the DL again.

"It's unfortunate I won't be ready for Opening Day, but we're just going to keep pushing forward and try to get back as soon as I can," Furbush said. "It's still not quite there yet, just a little tightness. We'll see how the next few days go and hopefully it's smooth sailing from there."

• After missing several days with the flu, outfielder Franklin Gutierrez stepped into several games on the Minor League fields Saturday to get extra at-bats. All the Mariners players have recovered from the flu bug that went through the club over the past week, but manager Scott Servais and several of the coaches and staff members were fighting the bug on Saturday.

• Right fielder Seth Smith went 2-for-3 with a home run to put his average at .559 as he continues his hot spring.

Smith's solo homer

"He's very consistent," Servais said. "He does not deviate from his plan or approach, hardly ever. I haven't seen it at all this spring. It doesn't matter who is pitching, righty, lefty, whatever they've got. He's in a good spot right now and has been all camp. He's been our most consistent guy, no doubt."

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.