Mariners wait for rotation arms to get healthy

Mariners wait for rotation arms to get healthy

PEORIA, Ariz. -- While the Mariners have considerable depth in their rotation competition this spring, three key arms have been sidelined much of the opening weeks thanks to a sprained finger for Hisashi Iwakuma, a sore shoulder for Taijuan Walker and a stiff back for Brandon Maurer.

Iwakuma will see a doctor on Friday to have his finger re-examined after injuring the tendon in the middle digit of his throwing hand when he caught it in a net while doing drills prior to the start of camp. The initial estimate was that the standout right-hander would be out 4-6 weeks and manager Lloyd McClendon is waiting to see where that stands.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed, no pun intended," the skipper said. "It would be great [if he is ahead of schedule], but we'll just wait and see."

Walker has been limited to only some initial bullpen work early in camp and then long toss on flat ground in recent days. He's yet to throw live batting practice and isn't listed on the first week of pitching probables for Cactus League play.

"He was fine," McClendon said after Walker played catch on Wednesday. "He felt pretty good. He'll throw again and hopefully get on the mound in the next couple days."

Maurer has also been limited the past six days after his back stiffened. He played long toss with Walker on Wednesday and also remains on a scaled-back program for now.

"He threw, he felt better," McClendon said. "Hopefully, he'll continue to progress and we can get him back out there on the mound. He's a little behind right now, but we'll get him back out there."

Greg Johns is a reporter for 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.