Iwakuma's next start pushed back to Thursday

Right-hander still dealing with sore left knee

Iwakuma's next start pushed back to Thursday

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' beleaguered rotation will have to further juggle things on the upcoming road trip as veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma's next start will be bumped back two days to Thursday in Toronto to give his sore left knee a chance to heal.

The Mariners have an off-day on Monday, so that allows Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia while staying on normal four days' rest.

Iwakuma took a line drive off his leg in his last start on Wednesday against the Angels. Manager Scott Servais said the knee was still sore when Iwakuma played catch on Saturday. He'll test it again with a light bullpen session on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Assuming Iwakuma's knee improves, he'll slide back to the series opener in Toronto, with Chase De Jong going Friday against the Blue Jays as he again fills in for the injured Felix Hernandez.

Saturday's starter in Toronto is still to be determined. That is the spot previously held by James Paxton, who joined Hernandez on the 10-day disabled list last week. Dillon Overton took Paxton's spot on Sunday against Texas and could remain in that role. Paxton is expected to miss two starts, though if he recovers faster than expected, he would be eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

Zinkie on Paxton to DL

Paxton, dealing with a left forearm strain, said he's feeling better already and doesn't expect to be out long. Hernandez is also recovering well from bursitis in his right shoulder. Servais said Hernandez won't accompany the team on the road trip, but he is "feeling really good" and is expected to start throwing again Monday as he remains behind in Seattle.

Miranda wasn't initially in Seattle's rotation this year, either, but he has gone 3-2 with a 3.55 ERA in six starts after Drew Smyly went on the DL with a strained elbow in the final week of Spring Training.

Gallardo to get his hacks in Philly

One advantage of the rotation change: Gallardo will now get to hit in the Interleague series in Philadelphia when he starts on Wednesday. The longtime Brewer is a .200 career hitter with 12 home runs in 424 at-bats.

"He actually swings the bat pretty well, and he enjoys it, like they all do," Servais said. "But the key is not to hurt themselves. Where we're at pitching-wise right now, we can't absorb a whole lot more. But they've got to bunt and still play the baseball game, whatever it calls for."

Miranda, who'll start on Tuesday, has never hit in a Major League game.

Worth noting

• First baseman Danny Valencia was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup due to minor tightness in his right hamstring. Utility infielder Taylor Motter started in his place. Valencia is regarded as day to day.

Steve Cishek will report to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday to begin another Minor League rehab stint as he continues working back from October hip surgery. The veteran reliever pitched four games with Double-A Arkansas and one with Tacoma in April, then took a break the past week to work out some kinks in his delivery -- after missing all of Spring Training -- with Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

"He'll get a couple more outings there [with Tacoma]," Servais said. "He does feel better about where he's at."

• Reliever Evan Scribner is flying to Los Angeles on Sunday and will see orthopedic specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday to get a second opinion on his injured elbow. Scribner went on the DL on April 29.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.