Iwakuma's debut with Mariners worth the wait

Iwakuma's debut with Mariners worth the wait

SEATTLE -- Long reliever Hisashi Iwakuma got a bit of national notoriety Friday night, when he became the last man on a 25-man roster who wasn't optioned or injured to appear in a Major League game this year. On Saturday, Mariners manager Eric Wedge explained the logic behind holding him out until the season's 15th game.

"You wonder why you save an Iwakuma and he doesn't pitch for a while, and it's because we've been in every game," Wedge said. "The way this sport is, you try to get him in there for an inning, and chances are, the next day your starter's going to get blown up when you need him and you end up running through everybody else that you don't want to pitch.

"So that's why you hang on to him. I wanted to go to [Erasmo] Ramirez first, because I wanted to give Iwakuma a fresh inning, a fresh start his first time out. That's what we did, and it worked out OK."

Iwakuma pitched four innings and gave up one run on one hit, and Ramirez went 3 2/3 innings in relief of starter Hector Noesi, pitching scoreless ball and only giving up one hit to lower his season ERA to 3.12.

"They really picked us up," Wedge said.